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Downtown Napa Jail Foes Call for Action

Activist Napa residents are calling for the public to oppose any plan to expand the county jail downtown. Napa County supervisors hear a report on jail locations today.

Expect to hear the voice of the people—many of the people—at today’s , starting at 9 a.m. in the county administration building on Third Street.

According to the agenda, sometime during the day and possibly before the lunch hour, the supervisors are hearing a .

Only one of the three options calls for the jail to be moved to another location, but that’s the one to which many Napa residents are pinning their hopes.

“We hope the County will not blunder into saddling the with an enormous jail in the heart of a now-vital ,” writes downtown resident Elizabeth McKinne in a letter to Patch this morning.

McKinne’s “we” includes longtime Napa residents Alvin Block and Moira Johnston Block, who Monday circulated an email call to action that reads, in part:

There is still time for the Napa community to influence the shape, vitality and quality of our future, and our revitalizing downtown. There are far better options! The ’s Saturday front page announced “Study states out-of-town jail still an option,” and calls for a year more of study before committing to the current plan for an enlarged new jail downtown. We agree!! America’s jail systems are in a state of volatile change; how can today’s costs and needs estimates be more than guesses in this changing environment? Will it be outdated before it is built? How will downtown’s burgeoning  economy be impacted by a massive new jail at its heart? How will new technologies affect planning? Questions go on and on. We and the County share the same streets, the same community. We are eager to work with the County as a partner in the planning ahead.

Today's Napa County Board of Supervisors meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the county administration building, 1195 Third St., third floor.

Fish August 09, 2011 at 02:01 PM
I have lived in downtown Napa, merely two blocks from the jail, for eleven years, and I have always thought it strange that there was a massive, ugly, monolithic building filled with criminals at the very heart of this otherwise beautiful city. When we first moved to Napa, and the downtown area was a ghost town, the location of the jail just seemed weird. Now that we have a much improved and thriving downtown area filled with high-end restaurants, boutique hotels, and two beautiful theaters, the fact that the jail is right in the middle of it all is a downright travesty and I think it ought to be moved to somewhere more appropriate (like down valley, perhaps) before its presence has a chance to negatively impact the growing economy of this area. Additionally, with the possibility of this jail housing felonious criminals from the state prison system thanks to State Assembly Bill 109 signed by Gov. Brown last month, the chances of something going horribly awry is sure to escalate. Residents of the City of Napa ought to be very concerned by the idea that the jail may expand, and house more, and more serious criminals. We need to take this opportunity to relocate this facility, and remove the blight that it is, from our otherwise lovely downtown area.

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