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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Wayne County One Step Closer to Reaching Deal on Jail Site with Rock Ventures

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Image credit: Michigan Legislature

“The issue for me is, what’s going to be the best deal, in our estimation, for county taxpayers,” says Evans.

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James Martinez/Wayne County
James Martinez/Wayne County

The long-standing boondoggle that is the Wayne County jail may soon reach a conclusion. Wayne County Executive Warren Evans announced this week that his office intends to move forward with contract negotiations with Rock Ventures, which would give businessman Dan Gilbert the chance to build his coveted professional soccer arena on the current jail build site.

Rock Ventures would instead build the jail at another location. Evans says he still has several weeks to make a final decision and reach a deal with Rock, but it looks good right now if you’re sitting in Gilbert’s seat. Even though the jail site must be completed or otherwise developed, not everyone wants another professional sports team in Detroit. Especially not the Detroit Football Club, which already has a loyal following among minor-league soccer fans.

Warren Evans, Wayne County Executive, joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to discuss the negotiation process thus far and the likely future of both the jail and the stadium.

Evans says the best deal would be the Rock Ventures proposal. However, he says, there are still some issues with the proposal; land for a new jail site has not yet been purchased, and there could be penalties for changing the location of the jail after bonds have been sold. 

We’re going to try and intensely negotiate to see if we can get over those hurdles with Rock Ventures,” says Evans. ”If that happens, great. If it doesn’t happen then we will go back to Walsh, which was the second bidder there and see if we can make… chicken pie out of chicken feathers.”

With either proposal, Evans says conditions for everyone in the jail and working there will immediately improve.  

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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