County still considering jail consolidation

Local News

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign county board members are still working to consolidate the two jails into one. Right now, there are two in Urbana. One is on Lierman Avenue. It is 25 years old. The other is on East Main Street across from the courthouse. That one is about 40 years old.

County board leaders have been trying to consolidate the two for years. The biggest thing slowing them down is the cost. Champaign County Executive Darlene Kloeppel says the consolidation will probably happen through an addition to the Lierman location.

“We’re at the point where we’re either going to have ot invest several million dollars in the old building or come up with a new…finally do the consolidation. And that’s where we’re at. And it’s a very expensive proposition either way, and the better choice is to do the consolidation,” said Kloeppel.

Kloeppel says millions of dollars-worth of upgrades are needed at the Main Street location to bring it up to code. While the addition to Lierman is much more costly, she believes it’s better to be proactive than reactive. She says the county could be faced with serious consequences if something isn’t done about the Main Street location before it’s too late.

The consolidation could lower the total number of beds between the two locations from 295 to 283.

There isn’t a set timeline for when the consolidation could start. The cost of adding on to the new Lierman location is around $47 million. That will likely be a referendum and will be paid in the form of new taxes.

You can find a draft of the project here. It is still under discussion at the county facilities committee.

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