Commissioners field questions, concerns about Lucas Co. jail proposal

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The effort to keep the Lucas county jail downtown is going strong.

"This jail project brings nothing positive to our neighborhood," one woman told commissioners.

Many people who live near the proposed site are mobilizing and are very vocal about their concerns.

"I still think that we're going to fall on deaf ears," Rebecca Sue, who is against the plan said. "I think they've made up their minds."

The controversial property is on Detroit avenue, just south of Alexis road. While if feels very close to home for some, the county says it checks all the boxes.

"We think it's a site that fits the needs of a new jail," Commissioner Pete Gerken told 13abc. "It's big enough and gives us some expansion and flexibility. It's also big enough we can move it back so it's shaded from the road."

But homeowners and business owners argued the 650-bed facility will tax an already overwhelmed sewer system and will only hurt the neighborhood.

"There's four strip clubs, at least on adult book store and one S&M club. That's what we're dealing with. Now, you want to saddle us with a jail," one woman in the crowd said.

County leaders recognize those concerns but say there are few other options that meet their needs in the city of Toledo. Some say the jail needs to stay downtown. Gerken says, it's not possible.

"We've looked very hard at downtown. But the taxpayers don't want us to build a jail that would cost 5 times more than it should to operate," he said.

To help pay for the new facility, the county is asking voters to approve a levy. But most who attended Thursday's meeting say there is no way they would support the measure.

"I love [my] neighborhood. It has some great growth potential," Rob Disbrow, who lives in Washington township said. "We have four new hotels, a kids play land, an Overhead door company, we're moving. A jail is just not where we need to go at this time."