BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WKRG) — When the shovels turned at a ceremonial groundbreaking in Bay Minette, Mayor Bob Wills knew his town was going to change.
The expansion is in response to the continued growth of Baldwin County and when complete will increase the capacity of the Baldwin County Jail from 650 inmates to over 900 city, state and federal inmates.
“It’s a major, major project which is going to change the landscape down here around the courthouse and give somewhat of a facelift.”
The project is a $65 million expansion of the Baldwin County Corrections Center that will include a multi-story inmate tower, new docket room and state-of-the-art control room.
“So once completed we feel that this build will meet the needs of Baldwin County for its inmate housing for somewhere between 15 and 20 years,” says Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack.
Expanding the jail means expanding office space for the sheriff’s administrative staff, and that work is already underway in a complex that includes the current headquarters for the Bay Minette Police Department so, the police department is moving.
“We’re in the process of going through the engineering phase,” says police chief Al Tolbert. “We will build a new public safety building right beside city hall.”
As many as 600 workers are expected to be a part of the construction projects.
“That is going to be an economic boon to the city,” says Wills. “They’ve got to eat and stay somewhere, buy gas and Coca Cola’s or whatever they are going to buy.”
There are already indications some of those workers are already in town.
“There has already been an uptick in housing sales, apartment rentals and sales tax revenue,” says Tolbert. “So overall it’s good for the city and good for the county as well.”
Construction of the new jail tower is expected to get underway later this summer. The project is expected to take at least four years to complete.