Staff Writer

With the Penrose building off the table as the site of a future Jackson County Jail, the empty building could house the Department of Human Services.

County Auditor Alisa Smith told the county supervisors May 7 that the Jackson County DHS could move into the Penrose property immediately if the supervisors approved the use.

Smith toured the building with a DHS supervisor and reported that “they’re all on board. They don’t need anything but space. They’re ready to go tomorrow if we make that decision. We have everything we need to make a smooth transition.”

On the topic of jail planning, Jack Willey reported a long conversation with officials in Scott County, where his son works. 

“I took eight pages of notes,” Willey said.

Scott County officials were eager to share tweaks they’d made on their jail and invited Jackson County officials to tour their new facility.

Jackson County Jail Advisory Committee members planned to tour the facility yesterday at 1 p.m. The tour will allow committee members to bring forth any recommendations at a meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the basement of the Jackson County courthouse.

On that day, the committee expects to hear a cost estimate that might allow the supervisors to set a “not to exceed” amount on a bond for a new jail. A second referendum on a new jail is planned for August.

“Here’s the last thing they had me write down,” Willey said of Scott County officials’ advice. “‘That way you can see lessons learned.’”

In other supervisors news:

Also May 7, Shane Halverson shared ideas for a multi-track park for radio-controlled cars. First suggested at Fifth Ward Park, the latest proposal would utilize part of Burlingame Field, which the county owns but the city maintains.

Noise is not an issue with the cars, Halverson said, as they are electric and don’t make noise unless fitted with extra equipment. 

Some “99.5 of them don’t have a soundbox,” Halverson said.

Supervisor Jack Willey suggested talking to the fair board as well, to elicit their support.

On May 7, the county supervisors re-certified the budget with a reduced mental health levy based on regional recommendations. They also raised Leisure Lake sewer rates $2.

“Properties are moving,” Supervisor Larry McDevitt said of Leisure Lake. “That’s a good thing.”