County breaks ground on new jail


XENIA — A wet and soggy groundbreaking was held for the Greene County Gene Fischer Correctional Center Oct. 27.

Held at 2295 Greene Way Boulevard, the ceremony featured several state and local elected officials including Gov. Mike DeWine.

The current jail is more than 50 years old and is obsolete and in some cases unsafe, according to county officials. The county tried twice to pass a sales tax to help fund the project but after those failed, the jail will be paid for by $30 million in sales of tax-funded bonds, $10 million in revenue replacement from ARPA, $20 million in cash from the county general fund, and a $15 million grant from the state.

“I’m thankful for the collaboration, persistence, and foresight of county officials to get past the two failed levies and figure out a way to get this accomplished,” said Greene County Commissioner Rick Perales. “We are also grateful to Gov. DeWine for the $15 million grant which basically allowed us to build the jail we need, not the jail we can afford.”

Greene County Sheriff Scott Anger expressed gratitude to his jail planning committee — Brandon Huddleson, Lisa Hale, Kirk Keller, Chief Deputy Doug Doherty, the Greene County Commissioners, and others — for their time and efforts to enable the $80 million jail plan to become a reality.

Anger described how inmates enter the jail “in crisis” and how the new jail will address the need for mental health services.

“We want to utilize their time in jail the best we can and give every possible access they have to outside services when they leave,” added Anger, who also thanked Gov. DeWine for his continued interest and support in the long-awaited facility which was a goal of former Sheriff Gene Fischer for more than a decade.

“Look, the old facility had outlived its usefulness,” DeWine said. “(When the jail was designed), there wasn’t much of a concern for mental health. We know much more today about health problems. It’s critical that our jails are safe and secure, but it’s also important that our jail environment can influence positive change and put inmates on a good path upon release.”

The new jail design mirrors that of the Warren County jail, designed by Garry McAnally, owner of Wachtel & McAnally Architects. McAnally spoke about the design process and described the jail’s planned features including the goal of attaching the existing Adult Detention Center to the planned facility.

According to the jail planning committee, the center will provide necessary housing for the separation of males and females into classifications for minimum, medium, and maximum security and contain separate areas for medical and mental health treatment services.

Plans include a space for a state-of-the-art intake/release processing area that affords the safe and efficient movement of both inmates and law enforcement into and from the facility. Estimated completion date is fall 2025.

Contact Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.

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