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Letter to the editor: Jail doesn't belong in residential neighborhood

5:52 PM, Oct. 14, 2013  |  Comments
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To the editor:

The City of Oconto was BLINDSIDED by the action of the County Board a couple week ago by voting that they will put the new jail in the block north of the present Court House. I am all for the jail and I agree with the County Board approving borrowing the $25 million for the project but the jail does not belong in a residential neighborhood.

All these years that the jail was under consideration the parcel at the end of Superior Avenue was the County Boards choice to purchase the property and to build the jail. The Board said it was an ideal location because it was a large parcel suitable for the jail and all the required parking. The location was a short distance to the judiciary system, it had reasonably good access to U.S. Highway 41 and lots of room for parking.

Because of a major blunder by the County Administrator all this has changed and now they want to crowd the jail into one city block that will reduce the Oconto tax roll by one million dollars, create a major parking problem, reduce the value of all the properties in the area of the jail and remove the tranquility of the residential neighborhood for blocks around. No matter how you design a jail it will look like a prison and the neighborhood will feel like it is a prison.

If the Town of Little River will not release the road so the property can be annexed to the City, there is no reason County Hwy S cannot be used as the connection to the parcel. It is a very short distance from the City limits along County Hwy S to the parcel.

It is time for the Board to revisit the Town of Little River now that the referendum is not an issue. The million dollars estimated to acquire the parcels north of the Court House is a very poor low estimate for the acquisition of the parcels, the relocation cost of the owners and the moving cost of personal property. And if Holy Trinity would sell some of their property for jail parking where is Holy Trinity going to park for funerals, mid-week services and special events.

Now that the money issue is resolved let us take a little time to reevaluate the location. The location at the end of County Hwy S or Superior Avenue is still the best location and I am sure the City of Oconto will make it work.

Donald Nerenhausen

Oconto

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