Architect Presents New Idea For Smith County Downtown Jail - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Architect Presents New Idea For Smith County Downtown Jail

It's not the remote location and although it's downtown, this is a different idea of what to do with Smith County's next jail. It was unveiled at a presentation today for the Smith County Buildings Task Force.  KLTV 7 News found out what's different about it and how likely it is to happen. 

Tyler architect Ron Mabry says the new Smith County jail has to be in the right place and it must take certain components into account. "Those components are city functions. The private sector, the private sector and the jail itself," said Mabry.

Mabry is part of the Master Plan Resource Committee, a group of citizens who think keeping the jail downtown is the best option.   Today's presentation, a "confluence of ideas", as Mabry calls it, shows a new jail wrapping around the existing downtown jail. The new buildings, a new jail and Sheriff's office, would connect to the existing courthouse.  

A couple of members from the Task Force expressed concerns about it, including its possible cost, which is not known yet, and the location of the construction.

However, other members, along with Sheriff J.B. Smith think it's in the county's benefit to have as much input as possible. "Once we get the professionals in place I think this would be submitted to them along with some other ideas," said Task Force member David Dobbs.

"He's giving an alternative view and I think that's what we need at this time and I think he's done good at it," said Sheriff Smith.

Smith County County Judge-elect Joel Baker issued a statement prior to the meeting.   In it, he said, "I have not yet endorse any plan, but I support and appreciate those who are willing to volunteer their professional advice and talent for the good of this county."  

Mabry says the Master Plan Resource Committee is not advocating this plan specifically. They're just trying to give the people of Smith County another option.   Neither the cost or the time involved have been determined.  The presentation is merely a suggested idea in its premature stages.  

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.


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