The Greene County sheriff said the new facility will help address needs for mental health services and better equip inmates to reenter society
By Sydney Dawes
Springfield News-Sun, Ohio
XENIA, Ohio — Work on the $76 million Greene County Gene Fischer Correctional Center is under way, and the county's sheriff say the new facility will help address needs for mental health services and better equip inmates to reenter society.
"People in crisis come into our facility," said Greene County Sheriff Scott Anger. "We want to utilize their time in jail the best we can, and we want to give every possible access they have to outside services when they leave. This will be great for that."
State and local leaders gathered at Greene County's Adult Detention Center on Green Way Boulevard in Xenia to break ground on the project. Construction is expected to span two years.
The new building, which will house more than 450 beds, will be attached to the county's Adult Detention Center. The project will include constructing the sheriff's administration offices and the coroner's office. Both offices will be connected to the Adult Detention Center.
The new facility will have space for programming for mental health services and medical staff, Anger said.
"It's a myriad of great things. This is going to bring great opportunities, and the work is just beginning," Anger said.
The Greene County jail project has been years in the making, as officials have long wanted to replace their aging jail on Market Street. Built in 1969, the facility has been under a consent decree since 1989, which limits the jail population due to the state of the building.
The project is funded by a $15 million state grant, $30 million in sales tax-funded bonds, $10 million in revenue replacement from the American Rescue Plan Act, and $20 million in cash from the county's general fund.
With the $15 million from the state, the county is able to build the majority of what was originally planned, albeit for nearly twice as much as its pre-COVID price tag of $40 million.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the state saw a need for the Greene County facility.
"Look, the old facility had outlived its usefulness," DeWine said. "The old jail was really designed about 60 years ago. And so there just wasn't a concern about mental health... we know much more today about health problems."
The Greene County Gene Fischer Correctional Center is named after the county's former sheriff, who died last year.
Anger said someone commented to him that morning that the rain falling during the groundbreaking ceremony felt like tears of joy from his former leader and friend, who advocated for modifications to the jail and officer safety in his lifetime.
"I was around him for 37 years before he passed. I know that all he wanted was what's best for the community. All he ever wanted was what was best for police officers," Anger said. "So I know that... he's up there and he's proud.
London Bishop contributed to this report.
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