Social Services preparing to move portions into old jail

NORWICH – Despite the lack of a working furnace and a decomposing facade, the 103-year old county jail on West Park Place in Norwich will be back in business this fall when two Social Services programs move in.

The county can afford the move due to a change last year in the New York State Persons In Need of Support program that called for more preventative services for families and less detention for youths. The mandated change came with a chunk of federal and state support totaling $200,000 and the possibility of another $200,000 beyond that. The money would be 65 to 100 percent refundable depending on the region.

“We will get back anywhere from $300,000 to $400,000 for doing this,” Chenango County Social Services Commissioner Bette Osborne said.

At the request of county supervisors, an engineering firm was hired earlier this summer to design office and storage space plans for the jail and attached Sheriff’s Office. The Buildings and Grounds subcommittee recently selected two of the firm’s three recommendations and requested cost estimates for both. In the meantime, Chenango County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard B. Decker made lawmakers aware of the opportunity to let the space to Social Services.

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