Itasca County Making Investment with New Justice Center
Itasca County has made a new investment to make justice safer and more efficient for their community through the renovation and expansion of their new Justice Center. The project is designed to address overcrowding, improve operations, and enhance security.
In 2018, the Minnesota Department of Corrections ordered Itasca County to sunset operations of their jail system due to an outdated design and failing infrastructure. When the Ninth Judicial District issued a letter about infrastructure and efficiency challenges at the adjacent courthouse, the county was given a deadline of May 1st, 2023 to cease use of their jail.
The new Justice Center sits on 4th Street in downtown Grand Rapids, leaving the backside of the building along 5th Street. The new design will allow for more inmates to be safely housed with 187 beds, security improvements, new camera monitoring and additional space for medical treatments and programs, along with three new courtrooms.
County commissioners wanted to give residents the choice for how to pay for this important community investment, which is why the county proposed a 1% sales tax referendum vote that will ensure that residents and non-residents will both share costs in the center’s investment.
If approved, the sales tax would apply to the sale of the same goods and services within the county as the state’s general sales tax with a maximum 30-year term or until bonds are retired. If the referendum is not approved, the project will be paid for with an increase in property taxes of 10%.
All Itasca County residents who are eligible to vote will have an opportunity to decide the sales tax referendum on November 8th, 2022. Early voting will begin Friday, September 23rd and will be available in person and by absentee ballot. More information can be found at ItascaCountyJusticeCenter.org.