Design Concept for New Jail is Decided

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After months of heated debate, the Winnebago County Board votes on the design concept for the new criminal justice center.

The unanimous decision: plan "W" as in Winnebago County Justice Center. That concept will cost 2 million dollars less than the original proposal - plan “Y”- and board members say best of all, no one dislikes it.

"Everyone agreed on it, no one disagreed and it's the one the sheriff likes best," says Board Member Polly Berg.

Sheriff Meyers says the positioning of the jail, sheriff's offices and courtrooms are more efficient in this concept.

Designers went back to the drawing board after community members voiced their opposition to the original plan. Tonight's decision comes as a sigh of relief.

"I'm very happy. I’m like a college kid who just finished all of his exams. Hurray," says Rick Pollack, who chairs the Public Safety Committee.

But the work is far from over, especially for those who own property on the jail's footprint.

"We're concerned. We haven't worked out an agreement - but we stay cautiously optimistic we'll reach a settlement and we won't go out of business," says David Johnson. His auto shop will be demolished to build the new jail.

While the land acquisition continues, phase 3 - the physical appearance of the building - is up next. The deadline: 62 days.