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by Patty Cheffey
The Marion County Jail will be undergoing some renovation work, but maybe not any time soon.
Sheriff Jimmy Shinn was present at Monday’s Marion County Commission meeting to ask for a signature for an ARPA grant for which he had applied and received to renovate the former visitor’s room to holding cells.
While a grant for $89,895 was approved, Shinn noted it is a matching grant, and the county will need to find $45,000 for the match.
Since the county has a year to use the grant, commissioners noted that gives them time to find the matching funds.
According to Shinn, he had originally thought he could get the work done for around the $45,000, but learned later it was going to cost more than that and tabled the idea until his department found this grant while applying for one for body armor.
Once matching funds are found, the former visitor’s room, which is not used any longer as the department has going to video conferencing, will be renovated to provide three more holding cells.
Shinn said that will give the jail 10 holding cells, which are used, among other things, for prisoners who are under a suicide watch.
Work will include installing plumbing in those cells.
Shinn also reported he had a couple of sources for the matching funds, including the Inmate Security Fund and the Commissary Fund, although he would probably need additional funds.
Shinn said he would like to get the work done this year if possible.
Western District Commissioner Steve Begley noted that since the jail roof repair came in under budget, so far, there might be some funds available there.
In other reports, Ruth Ann Wright, who reported for Teya Stice, improvement coordinator, said she had heard from a couple of individuals concerning rezoning issues, but nothing was official yet.
Commissioners also reported they had heard from Jim Bensman with MECO Engineering, which has started engineering work on the county’s next bridge project.