Repurposing the Marsh building out of the box thinking

To the editor:

I read with interest the letter from Gene Crider (“Repurpose Marsh building to help solve jail issues, Dec. 16, A4) concerning converting the former Marsh store into a facility for low-risk jail inmates and must say that I think along the same lines.

As I travel the state, I see examples of what other counties are doing with their facilities and hope that our commissioners are gathering information from other counties also.

One prime example is in the city of Columbia City in Whitley County. They have converted a former hotel (where I had stayed on former occasions) into a community corrections center.

The interesting part is that — although it sits right off of U.S. Highway 30 and is very visible — I did not realize it had been converted until I traveled the access road behind it and saw an inconspicuous sign identifying it. I don’t know the details of the situation, but I feel the idea is very creative and probably was accomplished at considerable savings to taxpayers.

Another thought is to consider if the existing jail was originally designed to be expanded vertically. I think we have seen a prime example of this at the Greenfield-Central High School — originally intentionally built to be expanded into a two-story structure, which would not have happened without public resistance to the more expensive proposed expansion.

I would just say to our county commissioners: think outside the box, build or purchase a functional facility, not a show piece.

Phil Hunt

Greenfield