Wayne County Approves Plans for New High-Tech Jail, Uniroyal Environmental Cleanup

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor Wayne County officials approved last week a $220 million development project that would replace three current jails with one high-tech facility. The County Commission awarded the project to a joint venture between local developer Walbridge and [...]

Wayne County officials approved last week a $220 million development project that would replace three current jails with one high-tech facility. The County Commission awarded the project to a joint venture between local developer Walbridge and Pittsburgh-based DCK Worldwide, reports Detroit Free Press. The new jail, which will have at least 2,000 beds, will be built across the street from the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice located downtown and it might be connected to the courthouse through a tunnel or a bridge. According to the plan, two downtown jails built in 1929 and 1981 respectively will be demolished once the new facility is completed. The county officials still need to decide on the fate of the third jail located in Hamtramck.

Construction is scheduled to start after the four-month engineering study that will be conducted by the developers in order to obtain a guaranteed maximum price, reports the newspaper. The new facility will be financed from bonds approved for the project and it is expected to save the county between $20 million and $30 million a year coming from efficient handling of medical care, food and laundry services.

The Detroit News covers the Uniroyal site environmental cleanup, a $20 million project that aims to revitalize the western third of this riverfront industrial area where Uniroyal Co. once used to make tires. The costs have been divided between Detroit-based DTE Energy Co., Wilmington, Del.-based E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., and Greenville, S.C.-based Michelin USA Inc.

The source also reveals that Jerome Bettis, now a retired Pittsburgh Steelers player, and Pittsburgh developer C.J. Betters plan to build residential and commercial spaces on the site after the cleanup is completed in spring 2013.