Supervisors hear options for old county jail

NORWICH – Three options that were presented Tuesday for converting the former county jail and Sheriff’s Office on West Park Place into usable space left members of the Agriculture, Buildings & Grounds Committee scratching their heads.

An immediate need to heat both buildings before winter sets in only served to further muddle the situation.

Legislators pulled forth a 2001 resolution that would authorize them to tap a capital project account for a $28,000 boiler. The boiler would heat the portion of the building being used to house the county’s Emergency 911 communications system. The Chenango County Department of Social Services will pick up the tab for three residential units that will heat the programming space currently being renovated from the former dormitory and inmate recreation/visitors room.

The 911 system will stay in the former Sheriff’s Office for at least two more years while new towers are erected and/or converted throughout the county.

“We need to move on this. There’s no time to wait for the full board to meet in November,” said Chairman of the Board Richard E. Decker, R-North Norwich. Between 12 and 14 county employees are expected to occupy the 103-year-old jail this month.

Town of Oxford Supervisor Lawrence Wilcox asked if the unit would be large enough to use later on. “I’d rather spend more on a bigger unit than have to replace this one, if and when we should decide to do the renovations,” he said.

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