Site prep begins for new jail

Marion County Road and Bridge Department personnel have removed two small houses off Fourth Street and across from the courthouse in Marion, preparing the site for construction of the new county jail.

County Commissioner Dan Holub said Darvin Markley, owner of the former lumberyard building at the north end of the same jail site, will be removing the remainer of his possessions from the property in June.

As soon as Markley is finished, Holub said, county road and bridge workers will begin removing the lumberyard and another house to the south of it.

The county will not take any the demolition waste to the county transfer station. Instead the waste will be trucked directly to a landfill for disposal at a much lower rate, Holub said.

He added that tree removal on the lots has not yet begun with discussion continuing with the U.S. Post Office located north of the construction site about trees they may want to preserve.

The county commissioners have said they expect to take bids for construction of the jail by September with construction to begin immediately afterward.

Holub said the commissioners also are seeking grant funds to help finance the jail in an attempt to lower the proceeds that will be needed from a county-wide sales tax that will begin in June.

The sales tax was approved by county voters in April along with the condition of resorting to property tax should sales tax collections ever prove insufficient, an event commissioners consider unlikely to occur with a history in recent years of rising sales tax collections.

The commissioners are still looking at alternative plans for how the jail may lay along Fourth Street and the possibility of such things as a street roundabout synchronized with the current courthouse grounds.

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