State offers partnership to salvage Wayne County jail project

Wayne County jail project over budget, halted; state of Michigan steps in to offer help

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®

DETROIT - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has stepped in and is recommending a partnership between the state and Wayne County to move the abandoned jail project out to Mound Road. There are no other options on the table.

Read more: What went wrong with failed Wayne County jail?

It was a total surprise visit by the governor's chief of staff and corrections director on Wednesday. It also was a surprise that the jail project is irretrievably so far off the rails the state would move into the process and the county would tear up its contract with its current contractors and continue leaving the project rusting and quiet for the foreseeable future.

Read more: Wayne County jail project under investigation

"Sometimes fiscal crises present us with opportunities and I view this as one of those opportunities. We need to seize it and embrace it and do some of the things that I think can be done in Wayne County and at the Mound facility," said Daniel H. Heyns, Michigan director of prisons.

The plan now is to try to sell the jail facility to one of three bidders. One of the bidders is Dan Gilbert's Rock Financial which wants to turn the area into an entertainment district. With state help, the Mound Road correctional facility would be remade into a 2,000-bed jail.

"It's kind of the ultimate word from the government, we're here to help, kind of theory we're doing here today. But the situation that we found ourselves in is it's a perfect opportunity -- regardless of the politics, regardless of personalities involved -- for the state, the county, the city, and frankly for the people that are in Wayne County and the state to benefit by an agreement," said Dennis Munchmore, Snyder's chief of staff.

Rod Meloni: Wayne County: Right back where we started

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