Monday, June 22, 2015

Sheriff: Current Metro jail likely to be gutted, renovated

Sheriff: Current Metro jail likely to be gutted, renovated

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said Wednesday it’s likely the current downtown Metro facilities will be gutted in order to renovate it with the $113 million approved by the Metro Council in the capital budget Tuesday night.
His words come less than 24 hours after the council voted 36-0 in favor of renovating the jail after they removed funding to relocate and consolidate it with rest of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office facilities in southeast Nashville, a proposal that garnered controversy and backlash from residents in the area.
Sheriff Hall said when the mayor first announced the proposal, he supported it, believing it was the right thing to do.
But as time went on, it became clear if the proposal was rejected, they would be left with nothing.
“One of my themes has been doing nothing is not an option,” the sheriff told News 2. “We really have to do something.”
He continued, “I sent an email out yesterday morning to all the council members as one last, I think two, three lines in an email that just said, ‘I understand a lot of controversy, but understand if you take that money out and don’t support it, we’re at zero, and we have facilities that are in dire need.”
After all is said and done, Sheriff Hall noted the whole process, from the announcement of Mayor Dean’s proposal to Tuesday night’s vote, was one that left lessons in its wake.
“I think there’s been some lessons to be learned, to be honest with you. We could have done things better on our part,” the sheriff told News 2. “I think the mayor’s office did everything I would’ve asked them to do by putting it in their budget, but you didn’t have a long time to communicate with the community like I think we wanted to do.”
Sheriff Hall said conversations have already begun around the process of remodeling and renovating the current facilities at the Criminal Justice Center (CJC) downtown.
“We had a process in place with the other one in drawings and designs and schematics. We have nothing today, but we have the money to go forward and start that process,” the sheriff explained.
As for what’s next, Sheriff Hall said he thinks the entire building will need to be gutted in order to re-do and enlarge many areas.
“I’ve talked with the finance office and I’ve talked with the legal department, and I’m quite comfortable that July 1 this money’s available for this purpose only,” the sheriff added.
He said he’d like to bring consultants in to study and discuss what demolishing a building like the CJC would mean in an area like downtown, as well as what it would cost.
Hall is hoping to get those consultants on board early July.


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