Committee Passes Jail Plan


The proposed plan on the new Winnebago County Jail has been agreed to by the Winnebago County Public Safety Committee. The facility design allows for the housing of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, the Winnebago County Emergency Management Department, and the Forest City Police Department. The plan will also house the Winnebago County Jail which is designed to hold 22 beds along with a capacity to hold 12 additional inmates on work release.

The proposed facility has room for expansion which is something the committee was looking for. Even though the center will occupy approximately 19,900 square feet, the committee wanted to make sure expansion was possible. According to the plans given to the committee, a second floor could be added to the facility at an additional cost of $200,000.  The plans also call for maximum security housing combined with lesser level security housing, offices for the various departments, an inmate reception and booking area within the facility, exercise areas for inmates, and a central control room. The plans will now be forwarded to the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors for a final vote. That vote is expected in January or February.

The location of the facility is the same as what was proposed earlier in October. The land currently occupied by the Village Chateau Inn off of U. S. 69 and Iowa Highway 9. Part of the reasoning for the location had to do with accessibility to main highways feeding out to the county.

The facility and property are expected cost the county around $4.8 million. The cost is expected to be offset from several grants and low interest loans. The committee felt that the best way to pay for the facility would be through a bond referendum expected to be voted on in March. An additional resource for funding could come from the local sales tax fund.