Proposed Southside Jail May Go Elsewhere

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

"I think the neighborhood has some legitimate concerns."

Dane county board chairman Scott McDonell is talking about a proposed new Huber facility to be built where the county highway department currently sits on Fish Hatchery Road.

"The reasons are it's on a bus route, it's got lots of space and it's actually surrounded by industrial uses."

And a very active neighborhood association, many of whom showed up at Tuesday's public hearing with protest signs and a lot to say.

"I owe it to my tenants to make sure they're safe."

"I don't know if I could afford to up and move but I would consider leaving this area had that happened."

"I don't think anyone would want this in their neighborhood. You would end up with "not in my backyard" syndrome for any neighborhood," says Stu Seffern, a member of the Burr Oaks Neighborhood association.

Seffern says residents have worked hard for years to clean up the area on Madison's south side.

"And if it's only a transportation issue, transportation can be expensive, but it's far better than the effect on the neighborhood."

The outcry may be working.
Residents say some board members tell them they're against the proposed site, and McDonell advised committee members to take a step back and consider alternative sites.

"I don't think it's appropriate to take any site off. I think it's appropriate to put more on and look at those."

Another pitfall of this location: many city leaders are against it, and they would to have to approve rezoning the area.

Board members will soon visit LaCrosse.

That city has eliminated Huber facilities and begun electronic monitoring for its convicts.

That option is something McDonell said they're interested in pursuing.

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