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Dunbar Twp. land eyed for new jail

| Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A group exploring options for a possible new jail in Fayette County has narrowed its recommended location down to a 77-acre Dunbar Township parcel, according to two of its members.

The county-owned site is behind the Fayette County Fairgrounds, said Jim Killinger, leader of the prison working group's architectural team.

Killinger said two other sites that had been considered finalists in the search have been ruled out.

A site in Georges was eliminated over questions of ground stability because it has been strip mined several times, Killinger said. In addition, the county would have to buy the land, which is priced at $850,000.

An airport site that would have been leased would not work because a ravine there would require costly modifications to accommodate a building, Killinger said.

The Dunbar site is not visible from the fairgrounds, according to Killinger.

It is zoned agricultural, meaning the county would have to rezone it to light industrial and then seek a special exception for a prison.

County Commissioner Al Ambrosini said the prison working group will present its recommendation to the prison board.

The prison board will decide whether to forward it to the board of commissioners for their consideration.

Ambrosini established the prison working group, which is composed of volunteers whose recommendations are nonbinding.

In addition, commissioners have retained Sleighter Engineering of Uniontown and Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates of Mechanicsburg to detail projected costs for options on dealing with the overcrowded prison in Uniontown.

That study, to be discussed at four public meetings, will examine per-inmate costs for options, such as doing nothing while paying other counties to lodge overflow inmates or building a new prison.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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