No word on former jail site
Marinette County administrator says a party has shown interest
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 7:00 PM
MARINETTE - A party remains interested in utilizing the former Marinette County Law Enforcement Center on Ella Court Street.
County Administrator Ellen Sorensen hinted Tuesday to the county's board's Building and Property Committee that an announcement could be made soon.
"We're waiting on a meeting," she said, during a discussion on the need to have the building's roof replaced.
For the second straight committee meeting she was asked by Supervisor Mike Cassidy about what the plans for the mostly-unused structure are.
At the committee's May 14 meeting she said "We are waiting on a partner to go public with this. An announcement will be made later this summer."
On Tuesday, she disclosed no further details, other than that a meeting was pending.
As a result, the committee approved a recommendation Tuesday by Supervisor Vilas Schroeder, board chairman, to delay doing more than patching the roof.
"I would prefer that we put this item on hold until we see what materializes," he said. "Let's wait and see what develops before we do a full-scale replacement."
Facilities Director John Machnik stressed the importance of doing something with the roof and asked if the issue could be brought back before the committee in two months.
"We might be able to bring it back sooner than that," said Schroeder, further hinting a plan for using the building might be disclosed soon. "It might be coming back next month. At this point let's just not take any action."
"I'll keep in touch with Vilas," said Supervisor Mike Behnke, committee chairman. "We'll take no action at this time."
The building has been mostly vacant since the current Law Enforcement Center opened on University Drive in 2004. Debate over it heated up earlier this year when the county board voted to relocate the Forestry and Parks Department to the Highway Building in Peshtigo.
On April 9, the committee took a tour of the building. The only use of it right now is on the first floor, where there is an office being leased and a wellness center for county employees.
During the tour, it was discovered the roof was leaking.
"The roof is 30 years old, it's reached its life," said Machnik. "There are two or three spots where it's leaking. I'm going to have to do something."
While the debate over the building has been going on, there has been interest in some of its contents.
The committee took no action at its March 12 meeting on a proposal from a salvage company to remove and recycle steel from the building at a cost of $2,400 and $2,700 to the county.
At its May 14 meeting, the committee voted to give the phone system in the visitation area to Menominee County, which was responsible for removal costs.
The committee on Tuesday considered a proposal to give eight stools and two benches from the former jail to Menominee County.
This time, due to Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison raising concerns about giving away county property without seeking bids, the committee voted to seek offers for the stools and benches on the state auction website.
"Her recommendation is that you not give the things away, but ask for some sort of reimbursement," explained Sorensen, who suggested Menominee County be notified where it can submit offers for the items it wants.
"It's (seeking bids) a recommendation from the corporation counsel," added Behnke. "She's looking after our best interests."