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IndyBar: ‘Move forward aggressively’ on justice center vote

April 20, 2015
The Indianapolis Bar Association urged the Indianapolis Marion County City-County Council on Monday to “move forward aggressively to construct the criminal justice facilities our city’s citizens require.”
 
A letter to city-county councilors urged approval of the $1.6 billion jail and courthouse proposed by Mayor Greg Ballard and Sheriff John Layton. The proposal was on track for a council vote tonight, but a committee last week rebuffed the plan. The proposal isn’t on the council agenda, but officials expect the proposal may be added at tonight’s meeting.
 
The complex proposed to be built at the former General Motors stamping plant west of downtown Indianapolis would be a public-private partnership in which the city would make annual payments to WMB Heartland Justice Partners to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the complex for 35 years.
 
“The time to act is now, whether by making satisfactory modifications or contingencies to the current proposed P3 funding of the WMB design, or by choosing another funding stream and/or design,” says a letter to councilors signed by IndyBar president John Trimble of Lewis Wagner LLP and IndyBar Justice Center Task Force chairman John F. Kautzman of Ruckelshaus Kautzman Blackwell Bemis & Hasbrook. 
 
“Whatever course of action is chosen requires immediate attention, and we urge our city leaders to move forward aggressively to construct the criminal justice facilities our city’s citizens require.”
 
Advocates say new jail and criminal courts have been needed for decades to replace inefficient facilities. Democratic mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett and others have called for delaying a vote until after the fall election, since Ballard is not seeking re-election.
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