Campaigning officially begins for "Keep the Jail Downtown"

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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - From painting signs to preparing thousands of postcards, members of Keep the Jail Downtown are hard at work gearing up for the special election.

"The game plan is to reach as many city of Toledo voters as we can," Mary Dutkowski, Keep the Jail Downtown, said.

On the ballot in February is a measure that the group says will keep the facility downtown. If Toledo voters sign off, it will change the city charger, only allowing a jail to be renovated or built on or near the current property.

"I'm excited. We've worked really hard to get there. We've shown that we're not going to give up," Dutkowski said.

County commissioners have said from the start that a new jail is not a want; it's a need. They argue that a new, downtown jail just isn't viable.

Most understand the need, but take issue with cost and the proposed location at Detroit and Alexis.

"The plans that they've made for this jail are exorbitant. Lucas county doesn't not need that size of jail," Dutkowksi said.

"I just don't think it's a good idea," Harriett Zaleski, Point Place, said.

Zaleski has lived in the area nearly her entire life. She says she doesn't want a jail to go in any neighborhood. That's why she volunteered her time Tuesday, to help the cause.

"People are paying attention, she said.

She also points to the county's failed bond levy attempt back in November. Money raised would have funded the new facility.

And as Election Day looms, the jail opposition campaign is in full swing.

"We believe that we will win come February," Dutkowski said.

Early Voting Starts on January 29 and the special election is February 36.