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What To Do About The Shelby County Juvenile Court Building?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - The current Shelby County Juvenile Court building is a mess.
Sometimes the heat doesn't work, sometimes the air conditioning doesn't work.
When there are a lot of juveniles in custody, security becomes a huge concern.

Shelby County's got a problem; a building that is a money pit.
Population will increase at this facility,so county leaders need to find at least a temporary spot, like a vacant juvenile facility that exists off Lamar in South Memphis.

Mayor Mark Luttrell says the facility is an idea because it is immediately available.
"What we proposed was, county commission was asking for a plan that addressed this immediately," he says. "... so we provided a plan that says this is available for us immediately."

The county would rent the old place while deciding how to handle the problem; maybe build a $54 million new facility.
The idea of renting doesn't do much for some members of the County Commission, even those that leave at the end of the month.

"What we are faced with is spending $24 million over ten years for a facility that we've got to fix up, that doesn't belong to us," Roland says. "I think we could probably take that same money and build a new facility and be better off because it will belong to us at the end of ten years."

This is a major decision, because the U.S. Department of Justice is still monitoring the juvenile court operations.
With six current commissioners leaving in a few weeks, there will be some action taken, but not much.

"We're not going to make any decisions," says Roland, who is one of the six leaving at the end of the month. "Basically, what we're doing is laying the groundwork, so the new commission will be able to take it from day one and move with it."


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