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Jail repair, remodeling project goes to bid

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners began the process Monday morning of bid-letting for the renovation of the Justice Center, including the jail, in Corydon.
The commissioners and council approved $1.2 million for Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye in July for repairs to the jail, which are needed because the jail failed inspection on multiple occasions, Seelye said.
The bids, which will be split into three packages to be more cost efficient, will be opened at the board’s Dec. 3 meeting and adopted at its following meeting, Dec. 17.
A pre-bid meeting will take place Tuesday, Nov. 20, at the Justice Center, to give potential bidders a walk-through of the building.
The jail, which is 17 years old, needs to undergo several maintenance projects. Exterior and interior caulking, glazing and repair and replacement of sealant throughout the facility need to be completed. Re-coating of shower walls and floors are also necessary because water is leaking through the walls and into inmate sleeping areas. Stainless steel shower units in all inmate areas also need to be replaced due to abuse.
While the jail cell showers are being replaced, Seelye said a number of the inmates will have to be transferred to surrounding counties at a cost of $38 per inmate per day for approximately $800 a day. That cost is not built into the $1.2 million.
A wage board was also set for the project.
In related matters Monday, Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes made a motion, for the third time, to send a request of $130,000 out of riverboat gaming funds to the county council for a new parking lot adjacent to the Justice Center.
‘It’s been before them (county council) twice and hasn’t been funded,’ Commissioner Chair James Goldman said.
‘I hope to get one more vote chucked loose with the urgency of the remodeling project,’ Mathes said.
If nothing else, it will bring attention to the fact that the project needs to be done, Mathes said.
Commissioner Jim Klinstiver seconded the motion.
Mathes said, with all of the construction trailers for the remodeling project, the lot will be needed as much as ever.
Klinstiver said he passed the Justice Center last week and saw cars parked along the perimeter of the lot and along the road.
Goldman said he agreed it needs to be done and he didn’t know why the council hasn’t yet funded the project.
The parking lot was one of three issues Mathes brought up before the meeting was adjourned.
The first was the need for a break-away mailbox ordinance for the county, limiting the ability of residents to place or build mailboxes in the county right-of-way. Mathes said the state has a good ordinance that the county could adopt or modify.
Goldman questioned the ability of the county to enforce such an ordinance.
Mathes said it could be enforced through litigation. Klinstiver seconded Mathes’ motion to have the plan commission come up with an ordinance for the board’s review.
The third item Mathes discussed was overhead lighting at dark, ‘blind’ intersections, specifically the one at Hospital Drive at Corydon-Ramsey Road and Pacer Court.
County engineer Kevin Russel began the process of changing another intersection, at German Ridge and Cooks Mill roads, to a four-way stop instead of a two-way.
Goldman said there was a collision the other day at the intersection that could have been fatal.
The board instructed the highway department to make it a four-way stop and include flashing lights and signs for a period of time leading up to the stop signs. A group of residents at the meeting applauded the move by the board and engineer.
The commissioners’ next meeting will be Monday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Government Center.

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