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The hulk of an unfinished jail looms over Gratiot. Photo: Nick Hagen
The hulk of an unfinished jail looms over Gratiot. Daily Detroit Archive Photo: Nick Hagen

The Wayne County Commission is coming closer to a decision on what to do with the $160 million unfinished jail on Gratiot Avenue to the east of Downtown Detroit.

The two most-considered options are as follows:

1) Finish the jail at the current site for an estimated cost of $370 million, about $100 million over budget. The Wayne County Commission seems to be sending signals that will be the option they choose.

2) Scrap the current jail project, sell the land to a private developer, and use moneyto improve a site on Mound Road, also in the city. Dan Gilbert seems to be in the lead for that, and he wrote an passionate blog post that keeping the jail in a  high-visibility location is a bad idea. The Wayne County Commission estimates that plan would cost as much as $651 million.

That said, can we believe either of the cost estimates by the County? Their track record around these things is less than stellar, to say the least. It would be helpful to have a third party analyze the numbers. The Wayne County Commission will probably make their decision October 16.

So, as it stands, which option do you prefer? Have another idea?