Commissioners plan event to kick off new jail campaign

·2 min read

May 7—JEFFERSON — At a work session on Thursday morning, Ashtabula County officials discussed ways of engaging and educating the public about the need for a new jail.

Commissioners were joined by members of various county departments for Thursday's discussion. Several topics were covered, including financing and how to educate voters on the importance of the project.

A press conference is being planned to kick off community education, which would be followed by public meetings discussing the project.

Commissioner Kathryn Whittington said a slideshow has been put together containing all of the information on the jail project, which will now be refined.

Supporting law enforcement will be a key part of the message around the campaign, Whittington said.

Commissioner J.P. Ducro asked if there was a short speech or set of facts that had been created about the project.

"I do think, as part of community education, fine tuning what that is, is really important," he said.

The county has prepared a list of organizations to speak to about the project, Whittington said. She said the meetings with organizations will be scheduled by one person, so schedules do not become confused.

Residents will have specific things they are looking for from the project, and those things will vary from resident to resident, Whittington said.

Commissioner Casey Kozlowski suggested working on a page on the county's website with information about the jail project now, including the reasoning behind the project, so that it will be ready to launch as soon as commissioners announce final plans.

Commissioners have been working on the project for some time. The potential sites for the jail still have not been announced, with commissioners stating they are located in the "Jefferson area." Commissioners previously approved contracts for work studying potential sites. That work has not been completed yet, Whittington said.

The current Ashtabula County Jail has 169 beds and opened in 1978, according to the county's website. The proposed new facility would have approximately 300 beds.

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