Beltrami Co. Residents Urge Board to Reconsider New Jail Site at Public Input Session
Over 150 Beltrami County residents showed up on June 20 to make their voices regarding the location of the new county jail.
The special public input session at Tuesday’s county board meeting was to allow a dialogue between the county and its citizens regarding the proposed location of the new jail. The county board agreed on May 31 to purchase the 16.9-acre lot, known as the Wiebolt Property, for the jail site. But many citizens shared concerns about the facility being so close to a residential zone.
With a packed room, County Administrator Tom Barry started with a presentation, where he addressed some concerns brought up at a previous public comment period, such as the current proposed sale price of the property for $540,000.
When people took to the podium, the comments all centered around one message – to reconsider the current proposal and look at other sites.
“We, your citizens, want an opportunity to participate in this process. We respectfully request re-visitation of the cite criterion, as well as the site selection process,” said resident Alyssa Carlson. “I know that as partners, we can find a better location for this jail that meets the needs of not only this community, but it would have minimal impact to residents and set us on the path for fiscal success.”
“When you take this facility and put it out in that community, in my community, you are removing resources from the inmates, and you are putting undue responsibility on the community in which you are putting this jail,” said resident Rochelle Johnson.
“I’m hoping that you will use these comments that are being made to understand the community that you’re looking at impacting with this type of a facility, said Richard Lehmann, South Lake Irving Association President. “So I respectfully request that you reconsider this, and re-look at some of the alternatives that you have.”
No formal action was taken at the meeting. The county board and staff will now discuss next steps to the jail project.