Maquoketa community members react to possible new Jackson County Jail

MAQUOKETA, Iowa (KWQC) - Update 7/17/18: Additional Town hall meetings will be held.

Original: The Jackson County Jail Advisory Committee held a meeting at Maquoketa City Hall tonight. The meeting was for community members who are unsure of the details behind the proposed new jail in Maquoketa. The committee wanted to answer any questions people may have had about the new jail before the referendum vote.

The current jail sits right next to the Jackson County Courthouse, on South Niagara St. in Maquoketa. The facility was built in the 1970's, and people in the city have varied opinions of the proposed new facility. Some believe it's a waste of money, some think it's a great idea, and some are on the fence with the whole approach.

Eileen Robovsky was the Maquoketa Schools crossing guard for many years, and she says that if anyone deserves a new facility, it's those officers. "If it's something that will really improve the work situation then it sounds like it might be a good idea." Robovsky was on board with a new jail, but as far as the proposed location of it she was unsure. "That's a busy place over there, it's real busy," she said. "Especially because of Wal Mart. I don't know if that would be a hindrance or not."

There has been concerns about a new hospital in the proposed area too, and how crowded that might make it. "To have a new hospital, a new jail, and Wal Mart right in that area? That's high traffic for a lot of things and that concerns me for safety," said recent Maquoketa High School graduate Kaitlyn Lane.

Regardless of location, both residents agreed that a new jail was necessary for the town. "I know our jail right now is run down and isn't probably the best," said Kaitlyn Lane. "I know we need a new one."

The referendum vote is next month. If the jail is approved, the county will take out a 20-year bond to pay for the $6.3 million project. A homeowner with a $100,000 home would pay about $20 more a year.