The latest plans and designs for a Douglas County Youth Center were unveiled Thursday night. "It's better for the kids, cheaper for the taxpayers, and smarter for everybody involved," Douglas County Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh says.
In September, county commissioners voted 5-2 to move ahead with plans to build a $120 million youth center downtown. It requires demolishing a historic building at 18th St. and Howard St. using eminent domain to take over the structure.
"We don't need this land. We have land of our own that we can re-purpose and refurbish at a fraction of the cost and it will serve our children better," Cavanaugh says.
Cavanaugh told KFAB's Morning News they can do things $24.5 million cheaper. Their proposed alternative is to renovate the existing youth center near 41st and Poppleton Ave. "It's much cheaper to rehab a house than it is to build a new house," Cavanaugh says.
There is space for county attorneys, courts, and room for families all under one roof on land the county already owns. "And it's much cheaper to build on property you own than to buy or condemn new property," Cavanaugh says.
Renovations at the youth center include new common areas, sleeping rooms, a library, and medical exam rooms. Their goal is to make it feel more like a junior high school than a cell block. These new plans will be shown to the rest of the county board at next week's commissioners' meeting.
Cavanaugh says the issue of eminent domain is held up in district court and a judge will make a final decision later this month.