Supervisors Say Winnebago’s Old Jail Stays Put For Now

The Law Enforcement Center in downtown Forest City will remain intact for now. The idea of demolishing the facility was put on hold by the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors who believed that economic developers in the area should get more time to work on turning the facility into an apartment complex. With the recent expansion by Winnebago Industries, the need for additional housing is becoming apparent in the near future.

The building has been vacant for over a year and a half. The jail and sheriffs offices were moved to the new Public Safety Center on Highway 69. It remains eligible to be counted on the National Register for Historic Places making it eligible for preservation funding. The building was built in the 1930’s as a hospital to serve the immediate area. It was converted to a jail later before being vacated for the new facility.

No timetable has been set on when plans for an apartment complex or other use of the facility would be presented and the board has tabled the demolition question until the end of February. A six month timetable had originally been put in place for Forest City Economic Development to market the facility for developers, but that timetable is beginning to run out.