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May 29, 1981 - Image 1

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1981-05-29

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The~ Mihiga Da I

Vol. XCI, No. 17-S

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Friday, May 29, 1981

Sixteen Pages

Overcrowding
haunts county

By LOU FINTOR
Officials at correctional facilities in
several southeastern Michigan coun-
ties-including Washtenaw-are main-
taining varying levels of staff alert this
week in light of recent rioting at
Jackson, Ionia, and Marquette State
prisons.t
InsOakland County, officials
described the situation as "critical,"
and said emergency measures are
being taken to deal with severe over-
crowding.
"YESTERDAY morning I closed
down the Oakland County Jail until fur-
ther notice," said Oakland County
Sheriff Johannes Spreen. "It's an ex-
plosive situation here. We have ap-
proximately 30 inmates sleeping in
holding tanks on bare floors."
Spreen called the predicament "a
mess," and said -"Jackson (State
Prison) cannot take any more of our
inmates. Our total inmate population
was 591 yesterday, that's 100 inmates
over capacity. We are housing 10 men
to a cell, eight on bunks and two on the
floor. In holding cells we have 10 men
sleeping on the floor."
The sheriff criticized the state'for the
way the prison overcrowding problem
is being dealt with and expressed alarm

for the safety of his staff, and the in-
mate population at the Oakland County
facility.
"THERE IS A certain decency you
should maintain," Spreen said, and
described the situation as so severely
overcrowded that such basic needs as
bathing and recreation are almost non-
existent. "This jail is critically under-
staffed and I'm extremely concerned
over the safety of our own officers."
Spreen said that due to such over-
crowding it is not uncommon for "a 17-
year-old boy sent to jail for a minor of-
fense," to be housed in the same cell
with hardened felons.
IN WASHTENAW County, Nuel
Schneider, jail lieutenant for the Coun-
ty Corrections Division, maintained
that while staff at the county jail are
remaining "alert," no measures "out of
the ordinary" are being taken that
relate to a tightening of security.
"We don't anticipate any problems or/
have any indication that there will be,"
said Schneider. "We're set up on a
short-term basis, the longest term in
the county jail is one year and we
average a changeover of prisoners
every 3-6 months."
Schneider explained that while over-
See OVERCROWDING, Page 7

Doily Photo by PAUL EN
INMATE CELL AT THE Washtenaw County Correctional Facility.

New office building planned

By ANNETTE STARON
Since city zoning approval was gran-
ted last December, all that has stood in
the way of construction of a new, eight-
story retail and office building down-
town has been high interest rates.
Years ago, when rates were lower,
Bill Kotila and some friends bought the
property where Sun Bakery now stands
on the corner of Fifth and Liberty
Streets. Now, on the brink of
realization, their plans to construct a
modern, brick-and-glass office building
are blocked only by high interest rates
and the lack of a financial backer.
"WE BOUGHT the land about ten
years ago as an investment," said
Kotila from his office in Wilmette,
Illinois. He said they bought it "with the
thought that one day we'd build
something there."
About a year ago, preliminary work
began on designing a building for the
site which is on the principal street
linking the State and Main business
districts.
The building, designed by a local ar-
chitectural firm, Hobbs and Black, will

contain retail shops and an open plaza
on the street level for shoppers to walk
through. Chuck Mancherian, Assistant
Director of the Ann Arbor City Plan-
ning Department, described it as "a
covered plaza with benches."
THE REST OF the building will
terrace back with small porch-like
areas on each level with bushes and
shrubs visible from the street level.
According to Mancherian, the site
plan and zoning for the proposed
building were approved by the city on
December 1 last year. "The Ann Arbor
City Planning Department was ex-
tremely interested in the plans," Kotila
said.
The next step is for the owner to sub-
mit construction plans to the city to get
a building permit. Kotila said thatit is
difficult to find funding for the con-
struction of a new office building and
that the only institutions financing of-
fice structures now are insurance com-
panies.
EARLY PLANS to include residential
space in the building, in the form of
apartments or condominiums, were
rejected as impractical, because to do

so would have required that additional that construction will begin within "90
city specifications be met. to 120 days after someone signs on the
"The building will be built - the only line and commits themselves (to fun-
question is when," Kotila said, adding ding the project)."
t
THIS AR TIST'S CONCEPTION of the proposed building to be constructed at
the corner of Liberty and Fifth streets shows the open walk-through plaza for
shoppers, the appearance of the building, and the terracing of-the upper
floors. Local architectural firm of Hobbs and Black designed the building.

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