Councilman Objects To County Jail, Courthouse Proposal



My smiling face was photographed in the Aug. 10 story on the Northern Gila County Jail/Courthouse story. The photo might imply I'm in agreement with the concept located on the corner of Main Street and the Beeline.

That implication should not be inferred: I was making arguments against that location.

First of all, I object that three Gila County Supervisors have not proposed an official meeting to "discuss" with the town councils of Star Valley and Payson about the location in our part of the county. They have simply paid for architects and consultants to show us what they have already decided.

Secondly, the supervisors say "nothing is in concrete," but the cement forms are already being laid. They have sent Cliff Potts to tell the five affected land owners that they will condemn their property by eminent domain. Payson Mini-Storage co-owner Paul Pollock objects and so do I.

The supervisors have rebuffed other location possibilities, including the forest property across from the Gila Community College, property that was designated on the General Plan with government as one option.... but they have never once talked to lead Forest Ranger Ed Armenta about it.

Have they had conversations with the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce about the complications it will make for tourists with no exit/entrance from Main Street? According to the concept, visitors seeking information will need to go past the chamber and share the busy Frontier Street with the post office traffic, and possibly some of the sheriff's officers zooming east on Frontier, assuming that can be made a two-way street.

p.s. While location is my main objection in this letter, voters need to know that the State of Arizona, not the county, funds juvenile detention facilities. Thus, not one dollar of the bond issue or sales tax increase will go toward juvenile facilities. Northern Gila County will continue to transport juveniles to Globe, even after erection of the multimillion dollar, much-needed jail and courthouse. I believe in the need... but my opinion is that we don't need it on that corner.

Ed Blair, Payson Council member

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