Jail plan discussed

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 10, 2002

Turning a former downtown bar into a minimum security jail was brainstormed Wednesday afternoon.

Each month, Austin city and Mower County officials and staff meet to discuss topics of mutual interest.

On Wednesday, the topic of a minimum security jail at the former Silver Bullet bar along Fourth Avenue NE dominated the discussion.

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The idea is that of Wayne P. Goodnature's, 1st Ward Austin City Council Member and a former long-time Mower County deputy and sheriff.

Goodnature and Garry Ellingson, 5th District Mower County Commissioner, have discussed turning the former bar into an incarceration facility for "huber" or weekend-only minimum security prisoners.

Ellingson is a former long-time Mower County Sheriff's Department chief deputy.

Currently, Mower County is awaiting a consultant's report on the county's anticipated future jail needs.

The existing jail atop the Mower County government center is filled to overflowing and prisoners are being transported to the Mitchell County jail at Osage, Iowa.

Also Wednesday, the city-council officials and staff discussed:

n The status of the drainage ditch study near Ellis Middle School on Austin's east side. Michael Hanson, Mower County Engineer, said more information is needed.

n The status of a railroad crossing study. Uncertainty over the DM&E railroad's future plans to bring rail service through Mower County have placed this project on the "back burner" of attention, everyone agreed.

n The progress on the 18th Avenue NW street reconstruction project. While everyone is concerned the contractor has only six weeks of anticipated good weather left this season to complete the first phase of the work, officials and staff continue to give the contractor the benefit of the doubt. Hanson told city officials and staff the work can be completed yet this fall, but near-perfect construction weather is needed to allow that to happen.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at :mailto:lee.bonorden@austindailyherald.com