DETROIT (WWJ) – One of Wayne County’s resolutions for 2017 is to finish building the so-called “fail jail” that has been mothballed the past four years.
The unfinished 2,000-bed jail is an eyesore in Detroit, located on Gratiot near I-375 across from the county courthouse. Construction stopped in 2013 because the project was wildly over budget, with cost overruns totaling more than $90 million.
Late last year, officials carried out a site condition assessment of the construction finished prior to the work stoppage and the report came back clear, showing that the jail site is structurally sound and giving the project a green light for completion.
County officials have said they plan to complete the jail, despite speculations that the project might be scrapped in favor of more desirable projects — such as Dan Gilbert’s proposal for a major league soccer stadium.
“We are doing our due diligence to make the best possible decision for Wayne County and move this project forward,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said at the time. “These results strengthen the case for completing the jail. … It’ll be full speed ahead on the Gratiot site.”
Sheriff Benny Napoleon said he and Evans have been involved in critical discussions about the jail’s operations, such as its design and future staffing levels. He said he’s confident Evans will make all decisions about the jail “in the best interest of the taxpayers.”
“If in fact that jail is built the way it was pitched to me when I was appointed sheriff, it would have saved the taxpayers of Wayne County about $30 million a year,” Napoleon said. “So, I’m hoping that when it’s ultimately built that it will still render some savings. I don’t know if we can get to the $30 million or not.”
A timeline for the jail’s completion has not yet been established.