Wayne County Takes Steps Toward Fail Jail Being Less Fail And More Jail

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

The incomplete new Wayne County Jail on Gratiot Avenue took a couple steps forward today, with the goal in mind by county officials to complete the project.

The Wayne County Commission, by a 15-0 vote, approved a $4 million contract with Carter Goble Associates. They will serve as the county’s owner representative on the jail project. Also by a 15-0 vote, the Wayne County Commission approved a settlement with Detroit-based AECOM and Dearborn-based Ghafari Associates LLC.

The settlement includes a $2.5 million payment from the two firms to the county, ownership of all design documents as well as the dismissal of all counter claims against the county and the building authority.

“The commission’s decision to approve the settlement agreement with AECOM and Ghafari puts us one step closer to removing the eyesore that the unfinished jail site has become,” said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans in a news release.

The site is also being eyed by billionaires Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores as the spot for a new Major League Soccer team. Evans has said that he’s going to be open to a deal from Gilbert and Gores for the site until which time the design/build RFP process is complete and a bid has been received.

However, the price of putting a stadium there would also have to include the costs of the jail, courthouse and the juvenile justice complex, as well as have the project not cost the county any money. The county has already sunk $150 million into the construction of the incomplete jail.

In short, unless Gilbert and Gores want to dig really deep into their pockets, we’re getting a jail, not a soccer stadium, along I-375 and Gratiot in downtown Detroit.

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