Juvenile hall site quickly approved
El Dorado County secured a juvenile hall site in time for grant funding, but not everyone is sure it is the best piece of land.
Some say the best site is on 4 acres of school district property adjacent to the jail, but a lease agreement could not be worked out before a May 17 deadline. California Board of Corrections requires a site to be guaranteed before it hands over more than $4 million in grant money.
An agreement that allows both the city of South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County to build on the land prompted the county to ask the City Council for permission to use a 2.2-acre parcel, located at the corner of Al Tahoe Boulevard and Johnson Boulevard, for the juvenile hall.
Tuesday night, the Council approved use of the property by a 3-0 vote. Mayor Hal Cole and Councilman Bill Crawford abstained.
In 1967, the land was donated by Marjorie Johnson Springmeyer and her brothers to a then two year-old city. The family intended the land for a city government center, but the city leased part of the the land to the county for $1 in 1972 and a county courthouse and jail were built on the property instead.
Springmeyer is still outraged because her family’s land was not put to its intended use. Cole cited his friendship with Springmeyer as the reason he did not vote.
City Councilman Bill Crawford abstained because he said, according to the city attorney, the county did not need city council approval to build on the property.
County Supervisor Dave Solaro reminded the council that the project was also a benefit for the city, which is forced to spend money transporting youths to an overcrowded 40-bed juvenile hall in Placerville.
“It is not just a county project,” he said. “It is a community project.”
There is a chance, however, that the juvenile hall could be built on school district property if an agreement is worked out.
Tim McSorley, El Dorado County facilities manager, left Wednesday for San Diego to show the Board of Corrections the county has secured a parcel of land and should receive the grant.
The county wants to build a 40-bed juvenile hall estimated to cost $9 million. They hope to begin construction in May 2003 after an environmental analysis is complete.
– Gregory Crofton contributed to this story
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