A new jail down the street from a school? Parents and city council members say ‘no’

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 5:11 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The proposed location for a new Allen County Jail on Fort Wayne’s southeast side is leaving many members of Fort Wayne City Council and parents angry because it’s near a school.

The proposed jail site is at the corner of Pauling and Adams Center Roads. Prince Chapman Academy is just down the street.

Wednesday morning, Ranelle Porter came to register her daughter for school. It’s a time that’s stressful enough for students and parents.

“It’s been kind of crazy because I work and I have three different kids to register at three different schools,” Porter said.

The proposal to build the new $300 million Allen County Jail on land down the street, doesn’t help ease those back to school jitters.

“God forbid something like this ever happens, but what if someone escapes?” Porter said. “You don’t know what different people are being locked up for, you don’t know how that could impact your kids. It’s scary alone to think about you kids’ school being on lock down and you can’t do anything about it.”

A judge has ordered Allen County officials to address overcrowding at the current jail downtown. The plan right now is to build near Prince Chapman Academy.

Last week, we talked with County Commissioner Nelson Peters about concerns the new jail would be build so close to a school.

“Look at the expansion in downtown Fort Wayne,” Peters said last week. “So it hasn’t presented the same types of problems that she may think a jail in that location may cause.”

However at Tuesday night’s Fort Wayne City Council meeting, Councilwoman Sharon Tucker says it’s not a fair comparison

“I will continue to speak against it until we have our voice heard,” Tucker said. “They’re not necessarily comparing apples to apples. It’s like comparing a watermelon to an orange. Downtown Fort Wayne has seen millions in tax incentives.”

Meanwhile, parents continue to plan ahead for the start of classes, hoping the politicians end their plans to put a jail nearby.

“I feel like they are in a safe environment,” EACS Parent Danahya Cooper said. “But then again, it’s things to worry about especially with the little ones and everything that is so crazy going on in the world.”

Between a news conference last week and Tuesday night’s meeting, Tucker has mentioned other options including a site on Lima Road and a location in New Haven.

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