Mayor Hogsett chooses former gas plant as new jail site, sheriff’s office

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Hogsett at jail site press conference

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Criminal Justice Reform Task Force of Mayor Joe Hogsett has chosen the former Citizens Energy Coke Plant at 2950 Prospect Street as the home of Marion County’s new jail, sheriff’s office and most likely courthouse.

The plant was closed in 2007 and Citizens Energy has remediated the site which for a century served as a location for the processing of coke and manufactured gas products.

The Hogsett task force inherited a list of 13 potential sites from the Greg Ballard administration and settled on the Coke Plant property for a variety of reasons according to the mayor who wanted, “something centrally located.”

“I can see the skyline of Indianapolis from where I stand,” said Hogsett, surrounded by law enforcement, courts and political figures as well as neighbors on the former plant parking lot. “Something large enough to encompass the scope of our reforms and something that the community supports. The former Citizens Coke Plant meets each of those criteria.”

A plan for financing the campus, which could cost approximately $500 million, is due February 27.

Planners envision offices for prosecutors, public defenders, community corrections, probation and medical personnel on the site.

“We’re going to see architecturally beautiful buildings including a new detention center,” said Paul Babcock, Deputy Director of Public Health & Safety, “the assessment and intervention center, courts, based on the discussions we’ve had with the courts, and a building for professional services including lawyers.”

Neighbors predict the center will bring jobs and economic spin off opportunities to the nearby Norwood and Twin Aire communities.

“The first thing I think of is jobs,” said Amber Broughton of the Twin Aire Neighborhood Coalition. “The job opportunities are really going to be important here and I know that the neighborhood is really excited about those indirect opportunities that will happen once the justice center is in place. Businesses will hopefully come, people need a place to eat lunch, people need good connectivity from downtown to get here.”

Marion County Sheriff John Layton envisions a 3000-bed jail and detention facility complete with medical services and assessment facilities to serve the inmate population.

“If we build this new facility with the new technology and everything that will be involved in it and the hard work and the men and women who will toil in that place,” said Layton as an IMPD car responding to an emergency call drove past, “maybe we won’t hear quite as many sirens in your neighborhood.”

Hogsett’s team has identified $35 million a year in potential savings from other lease agreements and contracts that would be allowed to expire when the justice center project moves forward.

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