Mills County residents who have never spent time in the Mills County Jail in Glenwood will have the unique opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the 97-year-old facility Tuesday, July 17.
Tours will be offered throughout the day as part of a public information campaign leading up to a county-wide special election on Aug. 7 for a $6.4 million bond issue that would fund construction of a new jail and county law enforcement center.
A chamber of commerce coffee at the jail and two public information meetings are also planned Tuesday in conjunction with the jail tours. The coffee is at 9:30 a.m. and the public presentations will take place at the Glenwood Senior Center, located at 20 N. Vine St. (next door to the Mills County Sheriff’s Office and Jail), at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. A public hot dog feed will take place from 5 - 7 p.m. at the jail in conjunction with the tours.
In addition to Tuesday’s activities, a public presentation concerning the bond issue vote is planned for Thursday, July 12, at 7 p.m. in the Glenwood Community High School Auditorium. Similar presentations have taken place over the past month throughout Mills County.
The nearly 18,000 square-foot Mills County Jail and Law Enforcement Center being proposed would be built on Railroad Avenue in Glenwood, on a piece of property south of the Mills County Engineer’s Office. The facility would house a 24-bed county jail and administrative space for the Mills County Sheriff’s Office.
Mills County grand juries have been recommending the replacement of the county’s existing jail since 1992. The 13-bed facility is not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and does not provide housing for female or juvenile inmates, who must be transported and housed in other facilities in southwest Iowa.
The vote in August will be the first on the jail issue since October 2007 when Mills County residents turned down construction of a $6.9 million, 24,000 square-foot facility south of the Glenwood city limits. That facility would have housed a 32-bed jail, sheriff’s office, Mills County Emergency Management Office and E-911 Communications Center. The measure failed with just 42 percent approval at the polls.
Passage of the bond issue on Aug. 7 will require a minimum “Yes” vote of 60 percent.