Putnam County Commissioner Kevin Christopher said he does not support the county jail expanding so close to residential areas.
Christopher said the jail has reached its capacity within a generation and believes Cookeville will only continue to grow as time passes. Leading Christopher to vote no Monday on a land purchase to expand the jail’s parking. Christopher said the county missed a chance to relocate and expand as much as it needs.
“As I understand it right now the current plan is that we would just keep building up and up and up, so that we’re basically gonna have a jail skyscraper in the middle of our town, Christopher said. “I just don’t agree with that. I don’t think that represents our community very well, but at this point we’re locked in.”
Christopher said he believes that land is priced too high and will remain available. As well as it being for sale since he moved to the area four years ago.
“I think that the property that we passed over is still going to be available,” Christopher said. “I moved to Cookeville four years ago and that property has still been vacant, so I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”
Also, Christopher said the premium on the property is not his only objection. Citing the location itself and a lack of options being explored.
“Some of those properties which were a good bit distant from the jail didn’t make a whole lot of sense that we were buying them for parking lots,” Christopher said. “There are things that I have not seen yet. I’ve not seen any sort of study on a parking garage, a multi-structure parking garage that may be located somewhere in more of the commercial sector.”
Putnam County is looking to expand the jail to 800 beds. Monday’s county commission vote was on purchasing land for the outlying area.