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Anti-jail petition anticipated

Residents not happy with location of proposed new jail

After the Marion County Commission put the final touches on the estimated costs of a new county jail Friday afternoon, Marion Mayor Mary Olson informed the commission that there was a petition circulating from those Marion residents who are not in favor of the proposed location of the new jail.

Olson said that although a petition had not been formally presented to Marion City Council, she was told that constituents were concerned about their properties becoming less valuable with a jail in their neighborhood.

“Is there any research about that?” she asked.

Commissioner Dan Holub said it would be difficult to determine if properties do have lower valuations that the jail is to blame. He said public perception of the project is the issue.

“People picture a gray concrete building with a chain link fence,” Holub said. “Most people don’t know what to expect. They will never see an orange jumpsuit unless there’s a fire (or some other reason for the jail building to be evacuated).”

Olson said she would be in favor of an agreement between the city and the county that would require screening of the facility from residents across the street.

Last modified Sept. 3, 2008

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