To the Terre Haute City Council: You will soon vote on rezoning Stu’s golf course for the jail, you have the opportunity to decide whether the property can be rezoned legally, or you can make an emotional vote and harm this community again.
Is there a legal reason to not rezone Stu’s golf course for the Jail? Not this time, and here is why.
We will have more than the federally allowed capacity inside the jail. From day one the current jail exceeded the lawfully allowed capacity, and does so still, even after an addition.
County officials conceded two times and built the current jail too small. Opponents are screaming now that the new jail is too big. City Council members can’t be so careless with taxpayer money that they won’t permit the county commissioners to build on a parcel of land that is reasonable and practical.
Any chance to improve a disgusting, blighted eyesore was thwarted last December and a terrible mistake was made by not rezoning the IP property.
On Prairieton Road you still see the same scar you saw before December 2018 called IP. No proposed “Mill events center”, no developments have occurred in the seven months since that vote, and nothing except the planned lift station will ever go there. To the council I ask, was it worth it to doom this property to the fanatical dreams of Williams or would it have better served the county as a functional jail complex? Will you doom Stu’s property, too?
Charlie Williams claims to represent taxpayers, but he only represents himself. He has an agenda which is solely aimed to block the new jail and to get on TV. His taxpayers association could only attract about 30 people over two nights recently, and he does not represent county taxpayers.
Lisa Spence admitted that “I think they are facts”, in referring to the contrived data she wanted to “inform” people of regarding the IP site while standing before you in December. A county politician should never guess the facts.
As an ISU bureaucrat, Spence doesn’t seem to mind wasting taxpayer money and time with her unsubstantiated delays, obstructions, confusions and objections. This may be business as usual in her university setting where money is no object (free), but Spence is wasting everyone’s time and costing money with her witless questions and delay tactics.
On December 13, Lisa Spence objected to “putting a jail on the river”, but today she objects to putting it anywhere except on the current downtown campus with a parking garage on the river, and she now wants to make it too small to serve Vigo County.
Kearns, Spence, Switzer and Williams are unyielding in their desire to see the jail built right where the current jail is. Their first skirmish was Riverscape, which succeeded, but doomed the IP property. The next complaint is, use the current campus, where there simply isn’t room. Then the Vera Institute told us that Vigo County locked up too many people and that we shouldn’t, but that message was false and they left. Next it’s a smaller jail and misdirection to Saginaw, Michigan, ignoring blatant differences between here and there. The latest is Rush County, Indiana. Spence says she does not know how they compare, but demands that county leaders investigate anyway. Spence often claims ignorance as a path to obstruction.
When we built the present jail, the citizens cried out for a cheaper and smaller jail and the commissioners yielded. When they needed more space, the commissioners again took the cheap route and adapted the old county office building.
Now these opponents of a larger jail bellow against building this structure that include the Citizens for Better Government demands, such as a training room for the sheriff’s staff, a classroom and private rooms for inmates and their attorneys, storage and adequate space for evidence in the sally port. Also included are facilities for video conference and assessment — features demanded by Trial Rule 26 and Direct Observation, putting jailers in the unit with the inmate.
Commissioner Brad Anderson estimates that it costs between $140,000 to $170,000 in additional construction cost per month to delay the jail project. It’s time to stop wasting resources and rezone this project and it’s up to you, Terre Haute City Council.
Vigo County willingly lent $6 million to the city months ago when they bailed out Terre Haute. Now, Terre Haute, will you be there for Vigo County?
Are you up to the task?
— James Kmetz, Terre Haute