Local, state and federal officials celebrate the long-awaited groundbreaking of the new Coffee County Jail on Thursday morning. (Staff photo by John Coffelt)
After nearly nine months of environmental and political delays on the local, state and federal levels, a crowd of nearly 50 attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Coffee County Jail on Hillsboro Highway in Manchester Thursday morning.
Attendees included local, state and federal officials, as well as their staff.
Sheriff Steven Graves expressed both relief that the project is finally ready to begin and gratitude to everyone involved, starting with his jail staff.
“I think you can see the faces of the people who work at the old jail every day,” Graves said.
“This is well needed, and I appreciate what everyone has done including TCI (Tennessee Corrections Institute), the jail committee and everyone else involved.
“There’s been a lot of long nights, and it’s not over, it’s just begun.”
Graves and construction manager Elvis Butler with Bell Construction Co. said the actual work starts Dec. 18, when the subcontracting process begins. Butler added that clearing and site work alone will be at least a three-month process, and Graves added that progress will depend on the weather.
Bobby Goode, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s state director of Rural Development, expressed thanks to Faye Rodgers, area director of USDA Rural Development, as well as Doug Shelton and Debbie Gilchrist of the Lawrenceburg office for their work on the project locally, as well as staff from the offices of both of Tennessee’s U.S. Senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.
“I also want to thank our federal partners who make this possible, our friends Evan Freeman from Sen. Alexander’s office and Jane Jolley from Sen. Corker’s office,” Goode said, “since it’s their bosses who give us these appropriations.”
“Last year we exceeded our state allocation…we used 109 percent of our state allocation, so what that means is that Tennessee got a lot of other states’ money, and this project helped us do that.
“I know this is a much-needed project so I want to congratulate you and thank you all for letting us be a part of it.”
Read the complete story in next week’s (Dec. 12) print edition of the Manchester Times.