A multi-million dollar jail is one step closer to being built in Crawford County. County leaders now have a proposed location set aside for the new jail.
The new $20 million jail is set to be built just outside Van Buren city limits on Highway 64, as long as county residents approve of building the new jail in a scheduled public vote, said Crawford County Judge John Hall.
“It’s about eight to nine acres,” Hall said. “It costs $275,000; it’s got water; it’s got sewer; it’s got electricity—all the amenities we need to work with.”
The current jail is under probation from the state because of overcrowding issues. However, voters three times before have rejected a tax increase to pay for a new one.
Voters will be asked again to approve a three-quarter cent sales tax increase to fund this new jail.
Some near the new jail’s proposed location said having a building full of inmates near them is a bit concerning.
“I try not to think about all the little details, but it would be scary,” said James Pendelton.
But others said they feel safer knowing criminals will be locked up rather than on the streets.
“People have to suffer the consequences of what they do,” said Deborah Adams. “So they need to be in jail if that’s the punishment.”
Voters will head to the polls in May to decide on the tax increase proposal to pay for the new jail.