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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Buildings to be Razed this Week to Make Way for Greene County Jail Expansion

Michele Skalicky

The public will start to see tangible signs of work to expand the Greene County Jail starting Monday morning.  Buildings in the 900 block of N. Boonville (909 to 921) will be demolished to make way for the new jail addition, which will be located across the street from the current one.

Greene County Commissioner Harold Bengsch said there’s a lot that goes into planning a jail expansion, and that phase could extend into 2019.

The expansion, funded by a half percent sales tax approved by voters last fall, will meet the future growth of the jail, according to Bengsch, as well as reduce the current overcrowding at the current facility. 

He said growth this year has slowed down, but that could change.

"We did not expect the explosive growth over the last two years that did occur, and so this just may be a, I guess you would call it, a lull in the process.  There's no way of knowing," said Bengsch.

The expansion, expected to be around $60 million, may provide additional space for mental health programs, but will be primarily for the incarceration process, he said.

"But, having said that, we're working very closely with community organizations and providers of mental health services to provide a more comprehensive treatment plan for inmates as well as something we're really focusing on as a community:  What do we need to do to prevent these things from occurring that result in people being incarcerated in our jail," Bengsch said.

Occupancy of the new facility likely won’t occur before two to three years, according to Bengsch. 

Demolition of the buildings on N. Boonville is expected to take around two weeks, and no traffic impacts are expected.  That space will be used for parking until jail construction begins.