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Planning Commission approves new jail plans

A new correctional facility for Butler County jumped its final hurdle on Tuesday night as members of the Greenville Planning Commission approved final plans for the jail submitted by the county.

Butler County Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams showed commission members the plans for the new 72-bed facility, which will be located on Walnut Street behind the old Butler County Health Department building, and will consist of a prefabricated building, or module, with the electrical and plumbing fixtures already in place.

The jail will cost $3.1 million, but McWilliams said there are alternate plans in place which could increase the total cost to $3.5 million should the county commission decide to increase the size of the jail for an additional 12 beds.

&#8220It just depends on if we have the money,” he said.

In December 2005, the county approved a bond of $2.72 million to help pay for the new jail.

Planning Commission member Linda Vanden Bosch voted to approve the plans, but did express concern that the county was looking more towards the punitive aspect of building a new jail. Those suffering from mental problems, she said, often are routed through the jail system and they should be adequately accommodated.

&#8220What we're trying to do right now is get a better facility than what we've got,” said McWilliams, referring to the current 76-year-old county jail that has been plagued by overcrowding and winter heating problems. &#8220But there is room for expansion.”

With good weather, construction of the new jail should take approximately 14 to 16 months to complete.

In other business, the commission:

Approved subdivision request by Horace Horn on Windwood Dr.

Approved a development plan by Paul Hartley on N. Conecuh St. where he plans to locate a cabinet shop.

City Inspector Eddie Anderson reported that Susannah Ridge Apartments are reporting 86 percent complete, while Tomatoes, Etc. - on Interstate 65 - is 50 percent complete.

The next meeting of the planning commission is on Oct. 2.