Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City Picks Downtown Site for New Jail Courthouse Project Is across the Street

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City Picks Downtown Site for New Jail Courthouse Project Is across the Street

Article excerpt

St. Louis officials have settled on a site for the new city jail - the block south of the federal courthouse.

The city wants to buy two-thirds of the block at Tucker Boulevard and Walnut Street for the jail. It would be right across the street from the new $200 million federal courthouse under construction at 111 South 10th Street.

The jail is expected to cost about $76 million; work could begin in early 1997 and end in 1999, Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. said Monday.

The jail would house 732 prisoners. It would replace the present City Jail next door to the Municipal Courts building.

The city can save money and increase safety by transporting prisoners through a tunnel or walkway to court instead of across town by van from the Workhouse at 7600 Hall Street, Bosley said.

A consultants' study said that building a city jail at the Workhouse instead of downtown would mean $5.5 million in additional prisoner-transportation costs over a 30-year period.

"When I was the clerk of the circuit court in 1986, everybody in the criminal justice system said we needed a downtown jail," Bosley said. Safety reasons, he said, dictated that the jail be downtown.

"The best site is across from the federal courthouse," he said.

Bosley said the city could begin the project with $3 million in gambling revenue and another $3 million it will save by not having to house inmates in jails across the state. He said the city might have to issue bonds to finance the rest of the project.

The city estimates it will spend about $12.6 million to buy the land from the eight current owners. One tenant is Ruth's Chris Steak House, for eight years a popular downtown restaurant. …

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