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Decision expected on C-Falls jail site

October 10, 2017 GMT

The Flathead County commissioners on Tuesday, Oct. 10, are expected to make a decision about the proposed purchase of acreage in Columbia Falls for a future jail site.

The commissioners will take public comment at 8:45 a.m. and then consider the property purchase at 9 a.m.

The county has a buy-sell agreement to purchase 24 acres of land owned by Weyerhaeuser on Columbia Falls’ west side for 130,000 accompanied the buy-sell agreement, which expires Oct. 31. The commissioners could ask for an extension of that agreement.

During recent community meetings and again during a commissioner work session last week, Columbia Falls residents expressed opposition to having a jail in their city. The biggest concern is that the county’s purchase of the Weyerhaeuser property would take valuable open space off the tax roll for future development.

The Columbia Falls City Council is expected to take a vote Oct. 16 to determine how the council stands on the jail-site proposal.

Building a 260-bed facility off-site is estimated to cost about 1.64 million addition opened in July, adding 40 beds as a temporary solution. Space was created by renovating the second floor of the Justice Center where the County Attorney office complex was located.

That gives the county total capacity of 164 beds between the two facilities.

Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.