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Plans unveiled Monday for new Pueblo County jail, extension of Joe Martinez Boulevard

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- Pueblo city and county officials got their first look Monday at a $115 million plan to build a new county jail and extend a key west side corridor.

Those plans were unveiled at the county's Emergency Services Center downtown.

KRDO

The new jail, along with new offices for the Sheriff's Office, will be built west of the intersection of 24th Street and Pueblo Boulevard, on the western edge of Pueblo, on property used for dirt bike enthusiasts.

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Officials said that the current jail opened in 1980 and has reached the end of its effectiveness, adding that most jails are built to last between 35 and 40 years.

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The existing jail has been plagued in recent years by leaking ceilings, flooding from broken water pipes, cracking walls and discolored tap water.

Pueblo County Sheriff's Office

The new jail will be a single-story facility and have the ability to expand in future years, as well as save money by being more energy-efficient.

As of Monday, the jail had 511 inmates but at times has exceeded 800; the new facility would hold up to 700.

KRDO

The new jail also would have all inmates in cells, which currently is not the case for 320 living in an open dormitory setting.

Pueblo County officials -- especially Sheriff Kirk Taylor, now in his fourth term -- have long emphasized the need for a newer, modern jail to replace the current aging and deteriorating facility downtown, but voters rejected sales tax increases that would finance a new jail.

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That changed recently, however, when voters rejected a general sales tax proposal but approved a sales tax increase specific to legalized marijuana.

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The jail will cost $90 million, with the remainder spent on a three-mile extension of Joe Martinez Boulevard to link the southwest side of Pueblo with neighboring Pueblo West.

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The boulevard extension will be funded with money from a sales tax increase approved by voters in 2016.

Officials have set a tight timetable for both projects, hoping to break ground in spring or summer and finish them within two years.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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