by Ryan Felton
Wayne County commissioners approved a nearly $4 million contract Thursday with a consultant to oversee the so-called “fail jail” project near downtown Detroit — but indicated the county will still cooperate with efforts to build a new soccer stadium at the site, if it comes at “no additional cost to its taxpayers.”
The effort to either finish the new jail along Gratiot Avenue has been a sore spot in Wayne County, ever since it was revealed to be significantly over-budget.
On Thursday, the county signaled it believed the jail was the best option moving forward for the public.
“Wayne County is moving forward with plans to finish the jail on the Gratiot site because it meets the needs of the county, and the county believes it is the most cost-effective option,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said in a statement.
The county will still cooperate with a group — headed by Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores — pushing a proposed $1 billion project at the site that includes a new Major League Soccer stadium.
“The county will not use any of its funds to explore alternative options, and it will only consider an alternate option that meets the county’s needs at no additional cost to its taxpayers,” Evans said.
Commissioners also approved a settlement Thursday with the original design engineers and architects for the jail site, AECOM and Ghafari, which included the dismissal of all counter-claims against the county. As part of the settlement, the county said it will retain all design documents, which are “essential for the county to move forward with completing the jail.”