FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The public can now see an updated version of what a new Allen County Jail will look like.
The new renderings of the jail reflect concerns voiced by people after the initial plans were released for the jail which will be located on a142-acre site located at 2911 Meyer Road.
The jail, often cited as the single largest public construction project undertaken by the county, could cost up to $350 million and house more than 1,100 inmates. The new jail is the result of a federal lawsuit filed by the Indiana ACLU and inmates in January 2020, which called attention to inhumane conditions and attributing those conditions to overcrowding and understaffing.
On hand after the meeting, Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters said the design was reconfigured.
“We turned the entire thing around so that a parking lot is more of what they (the neighbors) see as opposed to the actual building,” Peters said. He called the proposed jail “a very nice looking building” that will be in a “somewhat secluded spot, hidden with a lot of trees.”
Next week, Feb. 16, the commissioners will appear in front of the Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals seeking approval for a contingency use, a necessary step in large projects such as jails. The land is already zoned for industrial use which is appropriate zoning.
“We’re as prepared as we can be,” Peters said. “We believe the legal tests have been met. We believe the concerns of the neighbors have been listened to and we believe we’re ready to make this presentation to the board. There’s been a lot of due diligence.”
The main access to the complex will be off Maplecrest Road on the east side of the jail. Peters said the commissioners are working with Citilink, the public bus company, to work on transportation to the site, but there haven’t been any commitments.
Construction on access roads could likely begin with BZA approval, Peters said.