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Houghton County Board Picks Potential Jail Site

The Houghton County Board of Commissioners has identified a site for a potential new jail, sheriff’s office and district court building.

Commissioners Roy Britz and Gretchen Janssen have been researching sites of five to seven acres that are located within the Houghton City Limits, or could be annexed to the city.

Janssen talked with Houghton City Manager Eric Waara about some city property at the top of Portage Street…

That turned their attention to another option…

Britz noted that the property is adjacent to the Saints Peter and Paul Church, and said he has reached out to the leadership of the congregation to get their feelings about the possibility.

Commissioner Glenn Anderson suggested that Britz and Janssen be authorized to approach the property owner about obtaining a two or three-year option to purchase seven acres. The board approved his motion unanimously.

No decision has been made about proceeding with a new jail complex. Identification of a site was considered a necessary early step to help determine the potential cost of the project.

Meanwhile, the county planning commission is recommending that a county-wide survey be undertaken, to identify issues that voters would like to see addressed if a jail proposal is eventually developed, concerns that they have about the plan, and misconceptions that might need to be corrected. Commissioners reacted favorably to the idea.

In other action, commissioners voted to have Tom Tikkanen continue as vice-chairman of the board.

Meeting dates were set for 2020. March’s meeting was moved from its original date of March 10th to March 11th, to avoid a conflict with Michigan’s presidential primary election.

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