Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bosley Puts More Chips Behind Downtown Jail New Study, U.S. Statement Support Plan, He Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bosley Puts More Chips Behind Downtown Jail New Study, U.S. Statement Support Plan, He Says

Article excerpt

Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. is promoting a new architectural study and written federal support in his campaign to sell some reluctant aldermen on a new downtown jail.

The study recommends building the jail at Tucker Boulevard and Walnut Street, next to the federal courthouse.

The federal support, in letters to the city, appears to favor a city plan to move its criminal-court operations into the present federal courts building, at Market Street and Tucker Boulevard. A new federal courthouse is to be completed nearby in three years.

The mayor's office went public Monday with the study and the federal letters. Mayoral aide Scott Intagliata said Bosley hoped the new information would sway members of the aldermanic Ways and Means Committee.

Two weeks ago, the panel voted 4-3 to remove $7 million for jail planning from the budget for the coming fiscal year. Bosley wants the panel to change its mind.

Some aldermen said they weren't convinced that building the jail downtown is smarter than building an addition to the Workhouse at 7600 Hall Street, on the city's northern tip.

They also said the city shouldn't spend money planning the new jail until it's clearer where the city criminal courts will end up; the city wants to move operations from its aging criminal courts building at Market and 14th Street. Several aldermen have pointed out that the city has no commitment that it could move into the old federal courthouse.

On Monday, the mayor's office replied with two letters from the federal General Services Administration, which operates all federal buildings. The letters, dated March 16 and June 2, state that the federal agency will dispose of the present courthouse and that a city takeover "would be an excellent use of the property."

In the study, professional consultants rank five sites for a new jail - four downtown and one at the Workhouse.

The study assumes that the city will take over the federal courts building and says the best site would be the Tucker-Walnut site - even though it would cost about $12.6 million to buy the land from various owners.

The city already owns the other four sites. Those four, in order of the consultants' preference, are:

The parking lot immediately south of City Hall. …

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