Davidson Sheriff: Downtown Jail Likely To Be Demolished, Rebuilt

Posted at 10:09 PM, Sep 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-10 13:21:23-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Officials have planned to keep the downtown jail where it is, but as plans have been made for renovations, the drama over keeping inmates on the Southeast side of town has continued.

Antioch and Southeast Nashville leaders said they want to be informed of plans ahead of time, unlike when plans were made for the jail to permanently move earlier this year.

The Metro Council blocked funding for that project which would have moved all of the Davidson County Sheriff's operations to an existing jail facility off of Harding Place.

Residents nearby woke up Tuesday morning to rumors that all the inmates were moving to the facility off of Harding anyway.

Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said he needed to make plans for where to keep inmates once renovations downtown begin.

"It's not very prudent of us to stay waiting until that happens to come up with what are we going to do," Hall said. "So we've talked with our staff, we're coming up with ideas."

Hall said the downtown renovation will likely take two-and-a-half to three years to complete.

Hall was waiting on a report recommending the best construction plan, but he said it will likely mean demolishing the current building downtown and rebuilding it completely.

According to Hall, current building standards meant a larger building footprint is needed to achieve the same number of beds.

Hall said he believed the best plan will be to take over the entire block the Criminal Justice Center sits on, downtown.

That would mean the Metro Police Department would have to find a new headquarters as well.

The plan blocked by Metro Council included millions in funding for a new police headquarters, originally proposed for Jefferson Street in North Nashville.

Council member Karen Johnson fought against the original plan to move the jail and was concerned about the temporary plans moving forward without the community's input.

"We want to see the plan before we say we are okay with anything," Johnson said. "We don't want to be on the back end of the process this time."

Sheriff Hall said he hoped to have the renovations downtown underway by next spring or summer.