Officials reveal location for new Jeff Davis jail - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Officials reveal location for new Jeff Davis jail

Jeff Davis officials made two major announcements Tuesday about the new parish jail. (Erica Bivens / KPLC) Jeff Davis officials made two major announcements Tuesday about the new parish jail. (Erica Bivens / KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC) (Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC) (Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC) (Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
JEFF DAVIS PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

Just days before a potential make or break vote on the long awaited new Jeff Davis jail, parish officials make a big announcement.

While it's not the official groundbreaking, the sign for the new Jeff Davis Parish jail is now up.

At Tuesday's press conference, officials revealed a major announcement regarding the new jail.

"I am pleased to announce an agreement has been signed with Earl B. Evans Estate to sell 17.02 acres of land," said Ronnie Petree, a member of the Citizens Committee for a Safer Jeff Davis Parish.

And the property is located just west of the Highway 90 overpass in Jennings. Officials say they chose the site because of its proximity to the courthouse and the selling price.

"The sales price is $272,320; that works out to roughly $16,000 per acre," added Petree.

But the parish will only pay the appraised value, which could be less. 

Officials considered other properties, but say this location was ideal for the new 200-bed parish jail which could look like this rendering – a considerable improvement from their current one, which is old and overcrowded.

"We have to sometimes go through the docket, that would be the judge, the sheriff and I, to see who do we let loose, who do we keep? A larger jail would allow us to make sure people who are charged with serious crimes are held," explained Mike Cassidy, the Jeff Davis Parish's District Attorney.

Sheriff Ivy Woods added, "It's greatly needed, a new jail in Jeff Davis Parish, because it's one of the things that we can use to fight crime."

And while $10 million of state funding has already been secured for land purchase and construction, funds are still needed to maintain and operate the jail.

"The police jury decided that we would attempt to go out to the people for a half-cent sales tax," said Former Louisiana Senator Gerry Theunissen.

The 10-year tax proposal is on Saturday's ballot, which JD Parish Police Jury President Donald Woods hopes, "Everybody goes out and votes yes."

Woods says they hope to complete the appraisal and environmental study within three months and close on the property and secure the title within 150 days.

Now, if the tax proposal fails, officials say it could jeopardize the project.

Copyright 2014 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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