Editorial

7/9/2013

Jail has unlimited possibilities for use

The committee charged with studying the current Glynn County Detention Center between Newcastle and Reynolds streets and its future use or soon-to-be demolition will undoubtedly consider a number of options. Hopefully all will be with the best interest of taxpayers in mind.

If members of the committee keep the rest of us in mind, then demolition will be taken off the table. It should never have been one of the choices.

Thankfully, the county looked beyond that alternative when taking over the old detention center, now the Harold Pate Building. It houses numerous county offices in the former jail today and has even been expanded in recent times to accommodate more of this growing local government.

Had the structure been razed after inmates were moved across the street to the new jail, the county - the taxpayers of this community - would have had to foot the bill for a completely new structure.

The committee - or county commissioners - should consider how to wring the greatest use out of the jail.

There are options. Consider this one, for example: move county departments and services from Office Park to the jail building downtown and offer Office Park to the Joint Water and Sewer Commission at a bargain price. This would be a win-win for taxpayers. County government would be more centralized and the Joint Water and Sewer Commission would get a headquarters that would be easy on the ratepayers, who are city and county taxpayers who have paid for the water-sewer system 10 times over.

This could work, though only if the county and joint commission are truly serious about saving money, tax-dollars, when they can. The county could revamp the exterior of the jail to blend in with the surrounding landscape.

Joint Water and Sewer would get a home on Gloucester Street, obviously its preferred choice of locations given its first and second picks for a base of operations - the old Day's Inn and the old Barnett Bank building.