Proposed justice complex financing expires in less than a month

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 21, 2015) - The future of the proposed Criminal Justice Complex remains uncertain and time is running out. The price and financing commitments from the winning bidder expire on May 20.

The Ballard Administration encouraged council to approve the deal with WMB Heartland Justice Partners during Monday night's council meeting. Council Minority Leader Michael McQuillen remains optimistic the proposal will go before full council saying, "It's still alive."

Council President Maggie Lewis released the follow statement after the council meeting, "While there is widespread agreement on the pressing need to address our outdated, inefficient facilities, clearly there is no consensus or confidence in this particular proposal. A delay of one month will not change that fact."

The city is putting in time and money as officials push to get the project approved. A total of $1.5 million went to the unsuccessful bidders. The city has also been involved in more than 240 meetings with various stakeholders and neighbors.

As the project sits in limbo, costs associated with the current jail facilities continue to rise. The Marion County Sheriff's Department recently experienced several issues that staff attribute to aging infrastructure. Over the past month, a 100-year-old tunnel used to transport inmates flooded, the jail's kitchen flooded and an overhead door used in the transfer of inmates broke down. On top of all that, an electrical issue shutdown an elevator.

"We estimate that within the next several years it would cost $30 million for us to keep up, I can't get in to the details of it for one thing we don't know what's going to break," said Col. Louis Dezelan.

A spokesperson with WMB Heartland Justice Partners said the company will continue to discuss the project with local stakeholders.