Petition Opposing New County Jail In Muskegon Heights Delivered To County

Andrew Trzaska | October 23, 2012

Over 200 people have signed a petition opposing the possible building of a new county jail and juvenile detention center within the city limits of Muskegon Heights.

The petition was formally submitted to the county board of commissioners’ ways and means committee.  The property in question, 414 Broadway Avenue, is privately owned, meaning the owner can do as they see fit regarding the jail.

On a question from commissioner Jim Derezinski, it was clarified Tuesday that the petition does not specifically oppose a new jail building or retrofitting project. It does however oppose the project within the city limits of Muskegon Heights.

The petition reads as follows:

 “We the undersigned to do not support the building of a jail and/or juvenile retention center in the City of Muskegon Heights. Buildings such as these would further detract from the image of our struggling city.  We strongly urge our elective representatives to oppose this project.”

A representative affiliated with the petition described the possible jail project as a “negative footprint” that would further hurt the city’s besieged image. He commended the county for “positive footprints” in the city like the Louis McMurray transportation center, which is a main administrative and maintenance hub for the Muskegon Area Transit System on 6th Street.

A community forum this past Saturday included discussion about the jail, and this petition was circulated at that meeting.

Support for the jail project has not officially been received from the City of Muskegon Heights. County commissioner Rillastine Wilkins asked the city council for a resolution supporting 414 Broadway as a site for the jail, citing possible economic benefits. The council tabled the matter last month and twice again this month, including Monday night.

The County Clerk received the petition at Tuesday’s ways and means meeting.  The committee did not take action on the petition at the meeting.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst