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New jail is positive addition for McCook
It's been a long time coming, and the new jail's existence and location were far from unanimous decisions, but congratulations to everyone involved in construction of the new county law enforcement facility.
County Commissioner Vesta Dack's symbolic ribbon cutting -- using bolt cutters to sever a link on a pair of leg irons -- frees Red Willow County from the shackles of "farming out" our long-term prisoners to jails in places like Trenton and Curtis.
Sunday's dedication provides a final answer to a question posed in 1982 -- where will the county house its prisoners? -- when commissioners closed the old jail rather than attempting to meet then-new jail standards.
Over the years, money from at least one sinking fund established to build a jail, founds its way into other uses, such as remodeling the courthouse.
After voters turned down a plan to build a combined city-county facility, the city won voter approval for its facility, and county officials found a way to build the new jail without a vote.
Sunday's dedication was well attended, and the people we talked to agreed it was a modern, attractive -- attractive as a jail can be, that is -- facility.
It's a positive addition to downtown McCook, and a practical solution to the county's constitutional obligation to house county prisoners. The location does away with the need to transport prisoners to out-of-town jails, or even across town to the former city jail.
The county avoided, for the most part, hazards of that transport process, an escape or accident that could have resulted in a huge liability settlement.
Yes, the jail will be expensive to operate and taxpayers are unlikely to realize any savings resulting from its construction.
But at least they will know that more of their tax dollars are staying here in the county, providing jobs and income to fellow citizens of Red Willow County.