Developer proposes revised plan for criminal justice center

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The partnership that wants to develop a criminal justice center in Indianapolis has proposed a slightly scaled-down version in hopes of resurrecting the project.

WMB Heartland Justice Partners presented a plan to the City-County County Council on Monday that would reduce the construction cost of the center by $17.5 million, or 4.3 percent, from $408 million to $390.5 million. It was unclear how much that would reduce the estimated financed cost of $1.6 billion.

WMB Heartland was selected in December as the preferred vendor to finance, build, operate and maintain a combined jail and court complex at the site of the former General Motors stamping plant west of downtown.

However, the group's proposal was shot down in April by the council's Rules and Public Policy Committee.

WMB said it would like the full council to vote on the revised plan June 8 to keep a justice-center project on track.

The new plan would reduce the number of beds in the main detention center by 448, giving it 272 fewer beds than the existing 2,500-bed Marion County Jail.

It also would reduce the number of courtrooms from 28 to 24, among other changes.

WMB said the changes would reduce service fees by $31 million dollars from 2018 to 2028.

The new plan faces tough odds of being revived by the council.

City-County Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Marion County Sheriff John Layton, a former supporter, both issued written statements opposed to the revised plan.

"Rather than continue to spend valuable time and tax dollars in attempting to salvage this failed proposal, the Council and Marion County stakeholders should move forward and re-double our commitment to finding a long-term, cost-effective solution to this critical public safety need,” Lewis said.

Layton said it would be better "to get this proposal right" rather then rush forward with a modified plan.

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