A Heated Neighborhood Meeting Discusses Remote Jail Site - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/14/06-Smith County

A Heated Neighborhood Meeting Discusses Remote Jail Site

A heated neighborhood meeting took place tonight in Smith County to discuss the new jail moving into their area. Last week, Smith County commissioners voted to start negotiations to buy land for the Smith County jail. The land is located on County Road 378 and County Road 381. That's just outside Loop 323, about three miles northeast of downtown Tyler.

Those that live nearby came out to Fellowship Baptist Church to voice their opinions. They say they don't understand why the land was chosen without anyone talking to them about it. County commissioners are calling it a remote site, but these residents say it's far from remote.

"The point is, my grandchildren, my grand babies live right here," said concerned resident Mary Beth Thurman. "My neighbors' children, my neighbors' mothers, their grandmothers, their grandfathers. They are right here and I don't understand why."

"My fear is what like happened last year, the shoot out down on the square, the car chase out on Beckham, Highway 271," said resident Sheryl Smith. "What's going to happen if it turns out on these little neighborhood streets out here."

"Myself, I'm totally for the jail downtown cause it does so much for the revitalization efforts and it does so much for the things that are already there and that is one of the reasons I am running," said Larry Everett, who's running for the Smith County Commissioner Precinct 4 seat. "I myself am sick and tired of our areas being a dumping ground for those undesirable sights."

Organizers of the meeting say the Smith County commissioners were invited, but none attended. The commissioners, however, are holding their own meeting on the proposed jail site this Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. It will be held at Harvest International Church, which is located right by the jail site on County Road 381. All are welcome to attend.

Molly Reuter reporting, mreuter@kltv.com

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