How inflation is impacting plans for new Greene County Jail

GREENE COUNTY — Huge sticker shock, due to inflation, is changing plans of a long-overdue new Jail in Greene County.

The county is moving forward with plans for a new 250-bed jail, but the project has been drastically downsized and still costs more than the original plans.

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Inmates have been walking through doors at the Green County Jail for more than for more than 50 years, but almost every system in the facility is outdated. This has an impact on safety for inmates and the corrections officers that work there.

Whether you are in the basement or on the third floor of the Greene County Jail, the words that come to mind are old and broken down. Work crews are constantly in the facility, doing anything and everything they can to keep things running.

“You cant even get parts for the things that are going wrong, the spaces to get in and make repairs are not big enough,” said Greene County Sheriff Scott Anger.

Anger took over as sheriff about a year ago. He and corrections officers pointed out a pipe chase where new pipes are built on top of old pipes and repairs are a nightmare. Spotting leaks is a daily event, which leads to water damage everywhere.

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Heating and air conditioning systems are old and squeezed for space.

The building, built back in 1969, is simply crumbling in spots

Corrections officers are crowded, people serving time are crowded and voters recently voted down two different ballot issues to finance a new jail.

“The question was never, do we need a new jail, it is how are we going to pay for it,” said Brandon Huddleson, Greene County Administrator.

Huddleson told News Center 7 a new jail is the most important project the county faces, so commissioners got creative even as costs went out of control.

They hoped to build a 384-bed jail and sheriffs office complex for 50 million dollars.

The plan now is a standalone new jail with 250 new beds and it will cost more— $60 million.

“That’s the story of inflation right now,” Huddleson said.

The county is paying half the price tag with cash reserves and American Rescue Plan money and will have to borrow the other half. They believe the need is great and they can’t wait.

“This facility will be built so that it is expandable, we can add another pod down the road,” Huddleson said. “We are down the road, we are in schematic design, this jail will be built.”

The new jail will likely be built next to the adult detention center on the west end of Xenia, near a nine acre site the county controls.

They hope to break ground next summer, and with a 24-month construction cycle, would probably be in the new jail sometime in 2025.