TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Neighbors are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to the new Lucas County Jail. Thursday they spoke out against the Alexis Road and Detroit Avenue proposal.
Several opinions were shared from neighbors, business owners and more discussing safety, cost, and process concerns regarding the proposed jail site.
If you ask neighbors in north Toledo where they want the new jail, they will quickly tell you, right where it is, downtown.
"My point of view, put the jail downtown," said Donald Watras.
"Truthfully, I don't think the jail should be anywhere but downtown," said Carol Chappuis, a resident near the proposed site.
There was a number of concerned raised about the county's proposed location for the new jail on Alexis and Detroit. The site is about 25 acres and current plans show a facility costing close to $180 million with 650 beds.
None of this pleased taxpayers at Thursday's informational meeting at Friendship Park Community Center by the Alexis Detroit No Jail Community Group.
"What are they going to do about my safety because I am legally blind," said Wanda Hunter, a resident near the proposed site. "I'm disabled, I mean come on."
"What if one of these guys escapes?" questioned Sean Pool who lives nearby.
"You're telling me there's no extra cost when the guys got to come from all the way across town," asked Derek Pilgrim. "There's extra cost there."
"I wish there was more transparency because it's so hard to get information from them," said Dan Warner, a resident opposed to the proposed jail location.
"This area struggled back in the '80s, and the recessions and the '90s and it's coming back," said Terry Grady, a businessman in the area with Par 2. "It's getting better every year the last thing we need is a county jail."
Neighbors voiced frustration at the lack of officials at the meeting which was held on the same night as Toledo's State of the City.
"How many county officials are here this evening?," asked one audience member.
Event organizers did explain they planned their meeting after the State of the City address and several had prior commitments to attend Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz's event.
City councilman Tom Waniewski did show up to Thursdays community meeting.
"When it came right down to it, I'd rather listen to the people than the politicians. I thought the dynamics of the passion in a neighborhood to say 'not here' is a good one and I want to be a part of it," said Waniewski.
He admitted that finding a location isn't easy, but said we need a new jail and he wants to listen. Something neighbors want more of from our leaders.
"You've got to have consideration for the people because people are the ones that are supposedly in charge of the government," said Linda Shirey, a Point Place resident opposed to the proposed site.
"This is a solid middle class neighborhood, working class neighborhood and the two things that politicians talk about all the time is that the working class is the backbone of America and do it for the kids," explained Rob Disbrow, one of the leaders of the grassroots Alexis Detroit No Jail Community Group. "Well, this is a chance for those politicians, for their rhetoric, their actions to match their rhetoric."
Alexis Detroit No Jail Community Group plans to take the concerns raised at their meeting to county leaders for answers and consideration. The group also started a petition to oppose the site where they collected several signatures Thursday.
"There are enough people in this room who can organize to stop this jail," said Jim Stackpoole, an opposed resident.
More than 120 people did attend the meeting and they plan to fight the county's plan for the longevity of their neighborhoods safety, infrastructure and property value.