(WWJ) Protestors will gather downtown at 4 p.m. on Friday in front of the unfinished Wayne County jail site at Saint Antoine and Gratiot for what they’re calling a “speak out.”
Dave Langstaff with the Michigan Abolition Alliance says the money for the new Wayne County Jail should instead be spent on needs in the nearby communities.
“There’s something like 18,000 people who are being threatened with having their water turned off,” Langstaff said. “I’ve seen like a pretty awful course of action, directing money instead to cages to house people who are just trying to survive.”
Langstaff says now is the time to intervene in the process moving forward. He is hoping Detroiters’ will show up in large numbers at the protest to talk about redirecting those funds.
“We’re going to be using the speak out as a forum for collectively articulating a vision for redirecting the resources being wasted on jail expansion toward the actual needs of communities,” he said.
The jail project is caught in tensions between opposing financial forces. Most recently, the construction company chosen to complete the jail construction is getting extra time to submit its proposal.
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans granted Walsh Construction a two-week extension.
Meanwhile, county leaders are still looking over an offer from Rock Ventures to build a jail complex on East Forest Avenue near I-75 in exchange for getting the jail site property on which to build a soccer stadium. Mulling the offer, officials have said they will choose whatever plan is the best deal for taxpayers.
Rock Ventures, a Dan Gilbert company, back in February submitted an offer to Wayne County to basically swap the high-profile site of the current jail under construction downtown for a new, state-of-the-art, consolidated criminal justice center Rock Ventures would build for the county on Forrest Ave. It would include a new adult and juvenile detention facilities and a new criminal courthouse that would replace the current Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.
Wayne County would give Rock Ventures $300 million — the estimated cost to complete the jail at current construction site. The developer would bulldoze the failed jail, and build a $1 billion commercial development, which would potentially include a Major League Soccer stadium. [More details].
Both options still hinge on county approval.