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County selects panel to decide jail's fate
A citizen panel will be responsible for directing the fate of the Glynn County Detention Center once the new jail opens in 2014.

Approved by the Glynn County Commission at its meeting Thursday, the seven appointees will also be responsible for making recommendations about the future of adjacent vacant property at I and J streets. The property was purchased by the county before it abandoned plans to expand the current facility.

The detention center will be vacated when the new $24 million jail, being built on a 35-acre tract off U.S. 341 near the county public works complex, is completed.

The county commission can approve or reject the committee's recommendation. Each commissioner named a member to the panel.

"We want community input. We want community involvement," said County Commissioner Richard Strickland. "We want to hear what the community has to say."

That's what the Detention Center Reuse Committee hopes to provide.

The jail became the center of contention when the commission considered expanding it. City commissioners and other residents wanted to construct a new, larger jail away from downtown.

Commissioners hope that by seeking public input, a use can be found for the facility that will satisfy a majority and avert another public debate. "We did not want to have another downtown jail debacle," said Commission Chairwoman Mary Hunt.

Past suggestions for the vacated jail have included transforming it into offices or college dorms, or razing it. Other ideas include housing federal detainees or becoming a juvenile detention center.

Strickland and Hunt said they have no preference for how the building is used, but commissioners previously said that due to the size of the facility, multiple tenants should be considered.

The committee, which will deliver a final report to the commission by Nov. 1, includes two members who were at the forefront of the battle against expanding the detention center - Bob Torras, appointed by Commissioner Clyde Taylor, and Jeff Kilgore, appointed by Commissioner Bob Coleman.

Other members of panel are Wayne Thomas, appointed by Commissioner Mike Browning; Scott Cown, appointed by Commissioner Dale Provenzano; Charlie Rinkevich, appointed by Commissioner Strickland; Emmitt Nolan, appointed by Hunt; and Kelly Mathis, appointed by Commissioner Allen Booker.

* Reporter Nikki Wiley writes about government, business and other local topics. Contact her at nwiley@thebrunswicknews.com.



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