While more than 500 people visited the long-awaited new Essex County Jail this past Saturday, enjoying the explanations of the new incarceration technology, the appetizers provided by BBL, the contractor of the project, the sheer surprising size of the facility, and the fact that they, in fact, were not being incarcerated at the moment, one question still hung in the air. Whats to be done with the old Essex County Jail. No answer was apparent on Saturday, just as no definitive opinion emerged during a meeting of the Essex County Ways and Means Committee on Monday, Sept. 24.
Popular opinion among the supervisors seemed to favor demolishing the ancient (which some would refer to historic) structure and using the resultant space to erect a new building that could actually be used for some purpose. Supervisor George Canon (R- Newcomb) noted that he was sure thered be objections to such a demolition from some quarter, and that the board should expect a battle. One other slight complication is that the communications wires that run through the old structure are still tied into the current system and would have to be dealt with, demo or no.
There has already been an asbestos assessment of the building, and it was noted that Moriah Shock has a specially trained asbestos abatement team.
A resolution to pile drive the old hoosegow was tabled until a full investigation of the ramifications of such activity could be completed, and individuals and groups could put in their two to inflation-adjusted twenty-six cents in.
A move-in date for incarcerees has not yet been determined, but anticipation is high.