BANGOR- The Penobscot County Jail hasn’t been renovated in 30 years.
Monday night, Bangor city councilors met with county commissioners to discuss a plan for a new building.
The proposed site for a new jail is the former YMCA on the corner of Hammond and Court Streets.
The current jail houses an average of 180 inmates, even though capacity is only 157.
“The building we would be putting up would accommodate about 250 inmates, so we wouldn’t have to board any inmates,” said county commissioner, Peter Baldacci. “We’re going to spend about $1 million this year boarding those inmates and we’re going to spend additional money transporting those people.”
The design presented to Bangor city councilors would cost the county roughly $65 million to build.
“It’s the county budget, but the City of Bangor pays about 24% of the county budget,” said city councilor, Dan Tremble. “So it will have an impact on taxpayers.”
Commissioners said they hope to have the proposal on the June ballot.
Before that can happen, Bangor city councilors need to approve a zoning change to allow for a seven story building in that location.
“There’s been a jail there for over 100 years. It’s never had an impact downtown,” Tremble said. “There’s never been an escape from the jail in Bangor, so really if you didn’t know there was a jail in downtown Bangor, you wouldn’t know.”
The new jail would also have in house mental health and substance treatment areas, as well as medical services.
“Right now they’re short of space and working under very difficult conditions, so that’s what we have,” said Baldacci.
If all goes as planned, the new jail will likely be operational by the end of 2022.