Local and State News

Proposed Okaloosa County Jail Site Struck Down

Tuesday, December 05, 023

Crestview, FL — A proposed location for a new Okaloosa County jail to be located on a 70-acre parcel of land on US Hwy 90 East just west of Mt. Olive Rd has been struck down.

According to action item 15118, that was to be discussed during the Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting on Tuesday at 8:30 am, stated the initial intent was that the parcel of land was an ideal location for a new County Correctional facility due to its location, size, infrastructure and ability to buffer from all sides.

However, in light of pushback from economic prospects and residents alike on the location and realizing there is likely not Board support for a corrections facility at that location, the item was removed for consideration at the meeting.

Shortly after the beginning of the meeting, Okaloosa County Administrator John Hofstad made the following announcement.

Item D2 related to a property purchase we had at one point looked at as possibly a site for jail. We’ve struck any reference to a sighting of a jail on that property. Although we have extended the offer for purchase of that property for 60 days for due diligence of the board might want to still consider the purchase of that property for other needs that we might have, namely the alignment of Jericho Rd. Some type of memorial for the fallen officers there and then other development that might complement what we’re trying to do at Shoal River Ranch. So I just wanted to make the board aware of that and the public aware of that, that we have struck any move to site a jail on that property.

If the property is purchased by the county, it would allow the realignment of the intersection of Mt. Olive Road with Jericho Rd and potentially provide some storm water capacity for such a project. In the future, portions of the property could also provide significant stormwater capacity with any future widening of Hwy 90. Also, the property could allow the County to partially control the gateway appearance of the north side of the entrance into Shoal River Ranch Gigi Site and a portion of it could be used to recognize fallen Okaloosa County Deputies Burt Lopez and Skip York who were killed at the location on Saturday April 25, 2009.

Any purchase would be contingent upon a favorable appraisal for the purchased price of $1.2 million dollars.  In addition, because of some of the historic uses of the property (shooting range) the County will undergo a phase I environmental audit. The Board will have until February 7th to approve the purchase of the property and closing would need to occur on or before April 30th.

The full video of the meeting can be viewed here.

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