Monday, June 15, 2009

Jail Site Rejected

And another one bites the dust. The Putnam County Commission Monday night voted 15-to-7 to reject a recommendation that some 14 acres of property off Holder Avenue be considered as the site for a new jail annex. Opponents had objected to the proximity of the property to nearby schools and had also suggested that it was little more than a swamp. One neighbor said, "Even Shrek wouldn't want to live there." But attorney Mike O'Mara, representing the property owners, disputed what he called "untrue" claims about the site. He said the property was anything but a swamp and showed a topographic map to prove the point. He also said that the property had not been polluted by a neighboring junkyard and said that Bob Hill, the owner of that salvage yard, had been "besmirched" by such statements. Hill told the commission that the state had been monitoring the water samples on his property since 1992 and said that a 1998 report on the soils showed no serious pollution problems. Finally, O'Mara disputed a claim that the infrastructure on the property was crumbling. He said that city officials had assured him that the water and sewer lines were in good shape. But, after further discussion, the majority of the commission still decided against the purchase. The issue will now apparently go back to the Land and Facilities committee to come up with another recommendation.