Neighbors weigh in on new Lucas County jail site at public open house

Neighbors weigh in on new Lucas County jail site at public open house

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - For the first time since the possible new Lucas County jail site was announced, neighbors living in the area got to weigh in.

Wednesday night, a public open house was held by county leaders hoping to answer any questions. However, some that came, left not feeling much better than when they got there.

"I just don't like it, period. Why don't they just put the jail where it's at like they did before?," said Bunny Gladney, who lives in the area.

"I'm not happy, not at all, my grandchildren are at my house," said Barbara Naus, who has lived in her house down the street for 30 years.

Lucas County Commissioners assured voters this is the best option, and makes the most financial sense.

They believe they can.

Displays lined the room, working on giving neighbors a better picture of what this could look like, everything from current jail conditions to possible designs of the new one.

City and county leaders were at the Lucas County Emergency Service Training Center answering questions, but, the concern is still there.

"No one is going to buy my property, there is no way I would've bought my house knowing there was going to be a prison there," said Naus.

Business leaders in the area are also worrying.

"Would a family want to come to a family fun center and look across the street and there is a jail, and there is a prisoner walking across the street? Would you take your family there?," said Christopher Stetler, game manager of Playzone Toledo.

Playzone Toledo is right across the street, and they want to know when a prisoners time behind bars is up, what happens?

"When they get released they look across the street, wow I could get money, I could get a car, what happens when a kid gets taken from there? Desperate times call for desperate measures," said Stetler.

But, then the question becomes, if not this location, where?

"Why can't it stay downtown with what they're so used to? We don't want it all over," said Gladney.

She believes the jail shouldn't be in this bad of shape after only 40 years, and thinks it can be fixed through building upward.

Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp admits downtown is his first choice, but says, it's too expensive.

Some taxpayers said they're willing to pay more if it keeps it out of their backyard.

"I believe we need to drill in, come up with some answers and help people process it and understand exactly what the future would look like if a correction facility goes in to the neighborhood," said Sheriff Tharp.

Lucas County Commissioners went to taxpayers with another proposed location in July of 2017, and it was because of neighbor push back, they reconsidered.

A few of the neighbors at the open house are hoping they can do the same.

County leaders entered a purchase agreement to buy the property for around a million dollars, but ultimately it would be up to taxpayers in November if a levy gets on the ballot.

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