Marion city to consider lots for new county jail

Staff reporter

Marion County Commission Chairman Randy Dallke asked Marion City Council to consider the proposed county jail project to be located on a prime lot in the city's industrial park.

Dallke told the council Monday evening that the county is considering a couple of options regarding the construction of a jail facility. The county's architect, Law Kingdon of Wichita, recommended the prime location of 6.6 acres for the jail along U.S.-56 in the northeast corner of the park. The acreage would allow for future expansion of the jail and county court services.

Dallke also asked the council to consider a price for the prime lots along U.S.-56 and the other lots off of Kellison Street.

City officials asked Dallke if the county would be interested in four acres on South Third Street, just north of the bridge, that the city owned in addition to the originally proposed location in the southwest corner of the industrial park, just across the street from a residential district. Dallke responded that all options are being explored and the commission will take the offer under advisement.

The area on South Third Street is in a low area that currently is used as farm ground.

A decision needs to be made soon, Dallke said, because the county wants the bond issue on the November 2008 ballot. In turn, he was going to ask the architect about the proposed location along U.S.-56 instead of on the opposite end of the park off Kellison Street.

Marion resident Hilary Dolbee commented that the industrial park was developed for the purpose of generating tax revenue. Will the county pay property taxes? she asked.

Dallke responded that the county, like the city, is a government entity and would be exempt from property taxes. Dolbee asked if there would be a sufficient addition of employees to justify the jail being located in the industrial park. Dallke commented there would be a significant increase because the sheriff's department would have kitchen and laundry facilities on site with personnel.

Dallke also was informed by councilman Jerry Kline that Shilling Construction had damaged a manhole cover on South Third Street during the overlay project. Since the county was the entity in charge of the project, the city wanted the county to require Shilling to pay for the broken cover. Dallke said he would check into the claim.