News Local/State

Champaign County Board Drops Downtown Jail For Future Use


The Champaign County Board has eliminated any long-term use of the aging downtown Urbana jail as a correctional facility.

But Thursday night's vote does leave open other possible uses, including as solely a sheriff’s office, or for private rentals.

But County Board Chairman Al Kurtz says it’s all long-term, since prisoners will still be brought to the satellite jail and downtown facility for the next 3 to 5 years. 

The board is considering a future expansion of the satellite jail.

Kurtz said the county board expects to see an architect’s master plan on the future of its facilities by December or January.

“It will take time, planning, where the money’s going to come from, what the architect and their drawings looks like, how are you going to accommodate mental health, physical problems, violent offenders," he said.

Kurtz said the county may also consider tearing down the jail and selling the property.

He was defeated in the spring primary, and will be stepping down from the county board when his term ends in December, when a new board is seated.