By MIKE WILLIAMS
The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing in October to hear comments on the possibility of the county transferring ownership of the old county jail property to its real estate arm, the Economic Development Authority.
The old county jail, located on East Main Street in Pulaski, was mentioned in the Sept. 20 meeting of Pulaski Town Council, reported on last week by The Patriot.
When asked by a councilmember about the status of the jail, Town Manager Darlene Burcham replied that town staff had continued to advise the county the building is not in compliance with town building codes.
“The last conversation that I had with the County Administrator, he indicated that they plan to demolish the building. I don’t know what the timeline is as it relates to that. I did ask him in the meantime to at least remove the vines off the building and to repair the roof which has been a constant code enforcement issue. They’ve been given a deadline to respond on those issues, or we’ll have to proceed with a summons,” Burcham continued.
At this past Monday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors, County Administrator Jonathan Sweet said he had recently been on the roof of the jail building and had observed the last time the building’s fire extinguishers had been certified was in the early 2000s.
“That’s when the jail discontinued being of quality use to the county,” he said, noting the EDA is probably the best repository for the property.
Before a vote on the hearing, Massie Supervisor Andy McCready said that while the jail had not been used to house inmates since the early 2000s, the facility had been functioning as offices for the regional drug task force for a number of years.
“That is a very important function of the county,” McCready said, noting the offices are predominantly located up front in the old sheriff’s offices.
“The building is not vacant and is a secure building with law enforcement officers in it. I certainly have not heard any situations where we’ve had people breaking into the old jail so it must be secure,” McCready continued.
Continuing the back and forth on code violations, earlier in the day Monday, Sweet sent an email to Burcham asking for her “assistance with respect to code violations that are affecting the image and perception of the town and ultimately the county” pertaining to the town’s former sewage plant facility between Dora Highway and Route 99.
“The former town sewage plant facility has been sitting in this condition for a very long time and is rapidly getting worse,” Sweet wrote.
“You can see from the pictures that the roof with the large trees, vines and numerous plants growing unabated is clearly visible from the public right-of-way, triggering a clear and present violation. Please also take a special interest in the front of the town’s building that appears to have collapsed and has left a significant amount of unsightly debris that could pose a danger to the public. Lastly, the weeds and tall grasses around the town’s facility are nearly chest high and they appear to have never been mowed or maintained.”