URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The Urbana City Council approved a special permit on Monday night to expand the satellite facility of the Champaign County Jail.

Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman said prior to the vote that he expected the motion to pass, but he was relieved that it did. Some said that the decision is long overdue; it took 15 years of discussion to get to this point.

The downtown jail closed last week and the clock was ticking, as the need for additional space for inmates was growing. Heuerman said renovations and expansion at the satellite jail will provide more living space for inmates and a safer environment for staff.

Even though it passed with a majority vote, a few council members opposed the plan; the final vote was 4-3. Despite several presentations over the past few meetings, several council members voiced strong opinions saying there was not enough information provided.

Heuerman said Monday’s meeting had another presentation on the pushback he’s received on the jail and all the hoops he has gone through to get to this point. Despite the challenge, he is grateful for all the feedback he got from the community and relieved they can move on to the next phase of the project.

“It’s a little bit difficult to listen to comments that we haven’t had enough public comment, and we haven’t really advertised different things and stuff whenever,” Heurman said. “Quite honestly, we have.”

The majority of the council did approve the measure and Heuerman said it’s their duty to support the county’s endeavors, especially for creating a safer space for inmates.

The next step is to get bid proposals for the construction, with the goal of having the project done by 2024.