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With aim to complete juvenile justice center by 2022, Building Commission lays legal groundwork

With aim to complete juvenile justice center by 2022, Building Commission lays legal groundwork

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Proponents of a $120 million Douglas County juvenile justice center hope to break ground by November and to complete construction by 2022.

That ambitious timeline is spelled out in one of four agreements approved by the Omaha-Douglas County Public Building Commission on Wednesday.

It’s ambitious because the commission has yet to vote on issuing bonds to pay for the project and neither the county nor the commission has seen a detailed plan for the proposed buildings.

Also, the county has yet to acquire part of the site, southwest of 18th and Harney Streets. The owner of a building on the site doesn’t want to sell and says he will fight the county’s eminent domain efforts.

[Read more: Owner says he’ll sue over Douglas County’s plan to seize building for juvenile justice center]

The agreements lay some of the legal groundwork for the commission to work with the county and a nonprofit development corporation on the project. The Douglas County Board approved the same agreements Tuesday.

One of the agreements commits the Building Commission to spending up to $1.45 million on pre-design work. The county would have to pay that back if the project fell through.

Another resolution would authorize the nonprofit Douglas County Unified Justice Development Corp. to oversee the project as the representative for Douglas County and the Building Commission.

[Read more: Proposed $120 million Douglas County justice complex would shrink youth detention center, raise taxes]

A third resolution would approve an agreement between the Building Commission and Douglas County to work together to plan and build the justice center. Among other things, the agreement says the commission and the county will use their best efforts to begin construction by November of this year and complete it by January 2022.


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Chris Burbach covers the Douglas County Board, Planning Board and other local government bodies, as well as local neighborhood issues. Follow him on Twitter @chrisburbach. Phone: 402-444-1057.

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