USDA officials hope to complete its environmental survey of the Clay County Jail construction site within the next few weeks.
Chris Hampton of the Cookeville USDA Rural Development office says only a few more tests remain before the county can receive funding for the new facility.
“The biggest issue is, when they went out there and did the archaeological study, there was some artifacts that were found,” Hampton says. “They determined them to be immaterial to my knowledge. They were just some shards of rock and different things that were broken. That study has been sent to four Native American tribes, but they’ve not commented back yet.”
Hampton says the agency expects to have a response back from the tribes within the next couple weeks.
“Once we get that information, [the county’s] environmental person can put that report together and finalize it. This has been going on for six months ever since this first study was done,” Hampton says. “Once that’s done, they’ll send it to my office and we will review it and concur in it. At that point, that site will be eligible to be used for federal funds.”
Once the environmental study is complete, Hampton says the proposal will then be submitted to the state for examination before any funding is approved.