Young County Commissioners are busy working on their next budget, and for the 3rd year in a row, County Judge John Bullock is pushing for funding to renovate the old law enforcement building.
Judge Bullock took Newschannel 6 on a tour of the old facility on Tuesday. He said, "It served as the Young County law enforcement center and detention center from March of 1977 until it was abandoned, in January of 2007."
In the more than six years since, many of the former administrative offices have become storage for county records from the Clerk's, District Attorney's and Juvenile probation offices. Meanwhile the more than 30 former jail cells sit empty.
Judge Bullock would like to see those cells converted to storage, and the offices restored to useful space that city and county employees can use. He said, "The cell block portion of this, I think, is geared very nicely for archive-type dry storage. It can be climate controlled."
Some have suggested tearing down the building, an idea Judge Bullock believes, stems from the facilities poor track record as a jail. He said, "It didn't work very well. There were a lot of escapes and we got a lot of national attention. It was, in some degree, an embarrassment to the county and for the city."
The cost has also been a point of concern, but Bullock said he's gotten estimates and has budgeted the project for $177,000, nearly all of which would go toward a new roof and other major repairs.
In addition to moving documents into new storage facilities, Judge Bullock would like to see the growing office of adult probation set up shop in the renovated facility, and build new emergency management offices.
County Commissioners are set to adopt a new budget on August 26th. Stay with Newschannel 6 as we follow this story.