Options remain open: Study says new jail is needed

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Photo by Linda Gallagher

Jim Escamilla, CEO of Byce and Associates, a consulting firm from Kalamazoo, explained a comprehensive study of the majority of Antrim County's buildings and properties to a group of approximately 65 interested members of the public during a meeting held Monday night in Meadow Brook's Meguzee Hall in Bellaire.


BELLAIRE – A comprehensive study of most of Antrim County's facilities shows that the county is in desperate need of a new jail.

Results of the $68,000 study, done by Kalamazoo consulting firm Byce and Associates, were revealed Monday night to a public gathering of approximately 65 people in Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility's Meguzee Hall.

Explaining why the study was done, Antrim County Board of Commissioners Chair Ed Boettcher said in his introduction of the Byce team, "This all began with our concerns about security at the courthouse."

He also noted that, although Monday’s meeting marked the end of one process, he believes another much larger process is about to begin.

"We have some huge decisions in front of us, and no idea what we want to do," Boettcher said.

Commissioner Karen Bargy then explained the county's purchase of the abandoned First Merit bank building last year, saying, "It was an opportunity that presented itself. From there, we needed to know where we were with all of our buildings, as far as repairs that would be needed in the face of growth in the years to come."

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