Franklin County voters approve construction of new jail

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About 20% of the registered voters in Franklin County turned out at the voting booth on Tuesday to approve construction of a multi-million dollar detention facility to replace a jail that is failing to meet minimum state requirements.

The vote was 1318-689 in favor of a new 4/8th of a cent tax to fund the construction and operational cost of the new facility, representing a 65% approval rate for the center.

The new facility will be located on Air Port Road behind the current Extension Building.

The Franklin County Detention Center faced issues–mainly concerning overcrowding–that does not meet minimum state requirements and a state panel had determined the jail could be a safety risk to staff, prisoners and the general public. Failure o address the issue could have resulted in the costly option prisoners having to be transported to other regional facilities

Bonds will be issued at the beginning of the 2018 and construction will start soon after on the 90 bed facility that is expected to cost around $9 Million. The new jail will triple capacity over the current 30 bed facility and the tax is expected go go away once the project is completely paid for in 17 to 18 years.

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Dennis McCaslin has been a longtime news and sports reporter for several media outlets in the Fort Smith area. He has also been a well known radio personality and play-by-play announcer for several years prior to joining InsideFortSmith.Com. He is the voice of the ArklahomaSports High School Game of the Week. E-mail: dennis@greatplainsdigital.com

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