Council to get prison site options

The County Council will get resolutions for four prospective detention center sites tonight as a prelude to a vote at a public hearing Wednesday.

The sites, including the current location on Jennifer Road in Annapolis, were chosen from a list of 10 properties at a work session last week.


Council members also are considering a 445-acre tract in Crofton, a 1,266-acre site near Crownsville Hospital Center and Konterra, a 120-acre site in Jessup.

A proposal to expand the existing detention center received the votes of council members Carl Holland, David Boschert, George Bachman and Diane Evans last week in a straw ballot on whether to include it for consideration. If those votes hold, it will become the council's recommendation to County Executive Robert R. Neall.


Mr. Holland, who introduced the motion, suggested exploring various possibilities for expanding the current center, including using modular units that he compared to portable classrooms.

But Richard Baker, the detention center superintendent, expressed concern that the site offers no room for expansion.

"My concern is, if we build it, we're landlocked," he said, pointing out that only 10 acres is available for expansion. That would mean the county would have to select another site in eight years, he said.

Mr. Baker estimated that the center will need 1,200 beds by 2000, requiring a five- to seven-story high-rise building at the cramped Annapolis location.

Bed space isn't the only problem, he said, noting that existing space for programs, offices, storage and cafeteria is inadequate.

"Just giving me more beds is needed, but I need everything that goes along with it," he said.

The other three sites also present problems. The Konterra site, for which the land alone would cost about $92 million, is probably too expensive. The Crofton site has steep topography and lacks sewage service. And the Crownsville site was considered too fragmented in an earlier county analysis.

The council will meet at the Arundel Center at 7:30 p.m. The public hearing on the resolutions will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Arundel Senior High School in Gambrills. Speaker sign-ups will begin at 6:30 p.m.