VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – You don’t have to go far to hear conversation about a new jail in Vigo County, the discussion is everywhere.
“I’ve been following the jail conversation for the last several weeks, if not months,” said Lisa Moore, “and I felt it was important that the school corporation be involved with that conversation.”
Moore had plans to continue that conversation at Monday night’s school board meeting. A concerned parent, she has issues with the proposed jail’s location.
“As a parent I want to protect my children and feel that we need to speak up and share different perspectives,” she said.
County commissioners chose the former International Paper property as the new jail site. The property sits across the street from the Vigo County School Corporation Aquatic Center.
During the second call for public comment, Moore approached the podium with a letter to read aloud to school board members. In the letter she addressed what she feels is a need to reconsider the location.
The proposed location continues to spark conversation among not only residents and parents, but school board members.
“I’m speaking as a personal board member I suppose, but I would like the support of the board,” said Vice-President Jackie Lower, “We’re very aware of the time and effort put in by the commissioners and the other council members and all of the work they have done regarding consideration of this new jail, and we have had support certainly in the past for the students, the staff and patrons of the Vigo County School Corporation. We understand the challenges they face, but we are concerned about, well I guess I’ll say I’m very concerned about the location, proposed location, of the new jail being across from the aquatic center.”
Lower went on to say that she was very concerned with the safety and security of students, staff and parents that frequent the aquatic center.
Secretary Alpa Patel also expressed her concerns with the aquatic center location, agreeing that another site should be considered as the new jail location.
President Tammy Pearson agreed that there are concerns with the location, however, issuing an official statement on the matter to represent the board she felt was not necessary.
“I think that if we want to make an individual statement I think that we should do that towards the commissioners, and to the council and to the public and how we feel,” Pearson said, “but I’m just not sure that making one broad statement for the school board is in our best interest at this point right now, at this time.”
Instead of issuing a written statement, Superintendent Danny Tanoos proposed a meeting between himself, Pearson and key players in the jail project. The meeting he says would be to discuss concerns and alternatives in regards to the jail’s location.
“We need a new jail, we understand there’s a need for a new jail,” Tanoos said, “Our concern is the placement and we’ve been open about that, but I think there is some alternative opportunities for discussion for other sites possibly.”
Leaving Monday’s school board meeting, Moore says she’s pleased with the dialogue between school board members and is optimistic going forward.
“I was encouraged that they would be willing to talk to commissioners and encouraged that they would keep this on their radar and that it is a concern and that they do want to protect and do what’s best for our children,” she said.