Is there something that Rensselaer County isn't telling its residents? Is there a major crime wave just around the bend? It looks that way.
So, what does the County want to do with Troy's waterfront. Currently, 275 inmates are housed in 243 cells at the Rensselaer County Jail. Our sources tell us that when the expansion is complete (it will be done in phases) in 2024, the jail will have room for 897 inmates.* Is there something County residents should know? Will Rensselaer County really need triple the jail space in nineteen years?
Well, lets figure this out:
For the sake of argument, lets say the inmate population doubles in the next 19 years. That's seems high, but lets go with it. If there's 275 inmates now, and we double that, that's 550 inmates. We still have 347 to account for. There may be eight Troy Policeman. Perhaps the Feds will room them in the County Jail. That brings us to 558 inmates. Perhaps someone will go to jail for the 'Weed & Seed' scandal. That's probably just a few people though. What is going to be done with that extra space?
Either the County wants to rent space on Troy's waterfront, or a major crime wave is in the works. Lets pray it's not a crime wave. I just bought a new car.
The size and location of the Rensselaer County Jail has been a topic of conversation these past few weeks. The County wants to expand the jail. Troy Councilman Bill "Quixote" Dunne wants the jail moved. The jail sits on what could be prime waterfront property.** Dunne, who will surely lose this battle, is correct. At least to a certain extent.
What happens if Troy actually has a revival? Note likely, but it could happen. That revival will occur on the waterfront. Trojans have to shake off their small-minded provincialism and think large and long-term. If the waterfront experiences a renaissance, do you really want a jail sitting there? That will look real nice. "Oh, the gallery? You can't miss it. It's right next to the jail."
Perhaps the jail cannot be purchased tomorrow, or next year, or five years from now. However, if the expansion occurs, that site will always be a jail. The cost of purchasing the property? Has anyone considered, just considered, that Troy may not have to purchase the property? Perhaps a developer may be interested in the site. Isn't that worth a discussion. It may be a long shot, but why not explore the idea?
The argument that the jail sits on brownfields is equally nonsensical. First, not all brownfields contain dangerous levels of toxic materials. Would Rensselaer County really endanger the inmates, some of whom have not even been convicted, not to mention the hardworking corrections officers, by placing the jail on dangerous property? We think not.
Second, Mayor Harry has secured a grant to clean some of those brownfields (good job, Harry). It can be done. Troy just needs to shake off its can't do attitude.
We were going to post on the "Weed & Seed" scandal today. Our 'friend' at the County won't get us the documents needed until later in the week. Stay tuned.
* For those of you who graduated from Lansingburgh High, that's more than three (3) times the current inmate population
**The real question is, who owned the property when the decision to relocate the jail was made? Was that person a contributor to those in power at the time?