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Tue, Sept. 22

Dirt work for new Prescott jail construction underway; county supervisors consider project website

Dirt work began this past week at the site of the new Prescott jail. The board approved the $4.4 million, mass grading contract on Aug. 5, 2020, for the site located along Prescott Lakes Parkway. (Yavapai County drone footage/Courtesy)

Dirt work began this past week at the site of the new Prescott jail. The board approved the $4.4 million, mass grading contract on Aug. 5, 2020, for the site located along Prescott Lakes Parkway. (Yavapai County drone footage/Courtesy)

PRESCOTT, Ariz. - With dirt work now underway on the site for the new jail in Prescott, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors will discuss creating a website to keep the public informed about the project this week.

The board will meet in Prescott at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, for its regular voting meeting. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting will be livestreamed at https://www.yavapai.us/meetings and not open to in-person attendance by the public.

Among the items on the agenda is a study-session discussion and possible direction on a Yavapai County Criminal Justice Center Project website.

County Administrator Phil Bourdon reported on Friday, Aug. 28, that dirt work began at the site of the new Prescott jail on Monday, Aug. 24. The board approved the $4.4 million contract on Aug. 5 for the mass grading at the site, located along Prescott Lakes Parkway.

Noting that the jail project is among the largest projects ever done by Yavapai County, Bourdon said the website “would provide the public information on the progress of the construction.” The website would also include background information about the history of the project. The website would be done in-house by county staff, Bourdon said.

The new jail project has generated considerable opposition in the community in recent months, and the opposition group No New Jail is planning a rally the morning of the board meeting, starting at 8:30 a.m. at the County Administration Building at 1015 Fair St.

With the dirt work underway, Bourdon said the next step for the jail project would be the final contract for the construction of the jail building. He said that contract is expected to go to the board at a future meeting, although the date has yet to be set.

Meanwhile, the county also has conducted a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, which Bourdon says satisfies the environmental assessment requirements. “I feel from the recommendations in the report that we have done our due diligence.”

He said the company that conducted the study, Speedie & Associates, “went above and beyond” in the assessment, contracting with another firm, Logan Simpson Design, to do a cultural resource report, which found no cultural artifacts or ruins.

Still, some community members have pushed for another round of environmental assessment, including an evaluation of the possible presence of landfill gases in the area because of the proximity to the old landfill site.

Bourdon said soil assessments would continue during the construction, and any issues would be addressed with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

In other action Wednesday, the board will:

• Discuss how to use the newly renamed Yavapai County Exhibition Center (formerly the Coors Event Center) at Arizona Downs on Highway 89A. Bourdon said the board likely will consider whether the center should be leased out on a short- or long-term basis.

• Consider whether to approve the “A home of my own” concept, which aims to bring attainable housing to Yavapai County.

The plan includes three floor plans that would be available to be built within the county. According to a memo from Yavapai County Development Services Director David Williams, the benefits of the program would include: homes that are designed to be easy and economically built; no design costs; designed to fit on almost all lots in the county; energy efficient; and reduced permit issuance times, because most plan review would already be done.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-445-3333, ext. 2034, or cbarks@prescottaz.com.

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