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Timeline of old jail demolition

The former Brown County Jail, which was connected to the Brown County Courthouse, was demolished in December 2010, after sitting empty and abandoned in the center of town for five years. Here's a look back at the events leading up to its disposal.

Dec. 2, 2009: At a joint governmental meeting, the Brown County Board of Commissioners, county council, school board and Nashville Town Council renew discussion about the old jail. The building, for several years, had been referred to as blighted and an eyesore in public meetings, but no plan had been formulated to deal with it.

Dec. 10, 2009: Brown County Commissioners President Bill Austin and county council member Cindy Steele tour the old jail at the request of the Brown County Democrat, with reporter-photographers Megan O’Bryan and Tom Lotshaw, who bring video and still cameras. The pictures and footage are made into a virtual tour that is published on

Dec. 16, 2009: The Democrat publishes photos and two stories about the current condition of the old jail, including suggestions from some county leaders on what to do with the building. Sheriff’s department and jail employees also share recollections about the building before the departments moved out in the spring of 2005.

Dec. 23, 2009: The Democrat publishes a two-page spread of opinions and concerns from county leaders about the old jail and the property it occupies. Concerns cover restrooms and parking, tourist traffic, accessibility and space in the courthouse and other county buildings, emergency management needs and nearby development by the historical society. Conceptual drawings done in the spring of 2009 for a possible courthouse addition on the site also are included.

Dec. 23, 2009: The commissioners set a date to decide the fate of the old jail: March 31, 2010.

Feb. 17, 2010: Brown County Council member Cindy Steele, at a council meeting, announces the results of an Indiana State Department of Health mold test inside the old jail, showing counts from 11-16 times higher than outdoors. Guidelines are that counts should be lower indoors than outdoors. Fellow council members are polled on what should be done with the building. All councilmen present say the commissioners need to at least clean it up, and probably should do a study on how much remodeling or razing it would cost. Two of them lean toward tearing it down.

Feb. 24, 2010: The commissioners publish a request for proposals for renovation firms to evaluate the old jail and sheriff’s residence, identify their defects and all of the steps needed to correct them, and suggest what course of action would be in the best interest of the county.

March 3, 2010: The commissioners open RFPs from two companies: Charles C. Brandt and First Response Services Inc. The board talks about possibly having a "scavenging day" for county departments to claim items left behind in the building.

March 17, 2010: The commissioners, at a meeting to choose a firm to do the jail evaluation, discuss whether or not they need to spend $10,000 to evaluate the property at all. Commissioners Darrell Kent and Mary Fouch advocated tearing the jail down, but, eventually the contract was awarded to Brandt on a 2-1 vote, with Kent against. "We’ve got to do something to get some facts," Austin says, explaining the expenditure. Also at that meeting, Doug Harden with Steve Miller Architects proposes a space study of the county’s buildings and parking and current and future needs. It would take 30 days to complete and cost $7,500.

April 1, 2010: Austin and Fouch talk with The Democrat about the fact that a similar study of the old jail property had already been done, in 2006. Local builder and former reserve deputy Lamond Martin said he shared it with the board. Austin says the information in the report "possibly would save us some money," but it didn’t sufficiently answer his main questions, about asbestos and mold presence, cost or recommendation on what to do with the buildings. The new study is still on.

April 21, 2010: Brandt representative Bill Freeman presents six options to the commissioners in dealing with the old jail, all of them with cost estimates. They include renovating the building for office space or storage space; demolishing both buildings and building something new; or demolishing them, filling the basement and seeding the lot. "We have come to the conclusion that it is certainly not cost effective to keep the jail structures," Freeman said. "… We just can’t find a good reason to keep it." The commissioners decide to gather information on how much the county is paying on rent for various offices before making a decision.

May 5, 2010: The board votes 3-0 for demolition. The cost estimate from Brandt is $120,000. The board learns that the county is paying about $100,000 in rent per year for five offices. Members do not vote to make plans for the site.

Summer 2010: The county council approves a $120,000 budget for demolition.

Aug. 16, 2010: The county council, during 2011 budget hearings, approves a $500,000 line item for a "courthouse addition." It is described as a placeholder of sorts, in case the county should decide to build.

Aug. 25, 2010: The commissioners publish an RFP for demolition of the old jail and sheriff’s residence.

Sept. 8, 2010: County Resource Manager Mike Thompson reveals that contractors had several questions that weren’t addressed in the RFP, including what to do with an air conditioning unit that sits atop the jail but still supplies air to the courthouse; what should happen to the courthouse wall that would be exposed once the jail is demolished; and what to do with the stairs leading from the sheriff’s residence onto Van Buren Street.

Sept. 15, 2010: Five demolition bids are opened, ranging from $77,400 to $88,998. The budget is $120,000, but work not listed on the RFP will cost additional money.

Oct. 6, 2010: Denney Excavating of Plainfield is awarded the demolition contract, for $75,200. The tentative start date is Nov. 8. The commissioners vote to not have the company mechanically compact the soil (at a cost of $2,200), but to have the site restored to a state that would allow it to be used as a park or green space.

Oct. 19, 2010: Nashville’s Development Review Commission expresses concern about the demolition of the old sheriff’s residence, because it is of an uncommon architectural style. It asks the county to consider preserving the house’s façade, or at least document the buildings in pictures for historical records.

Nov. 3, 2010: Demolition is delayed a week because the Indiana Department of Environmental Management needs a study of possible asbestos-containing materials in the building, County Resource Manager Mike Thompson tells The Democrat. The demolition notice that Denney submitted to the state wasn’t complete, IDEM reports. Thompson predicts a new demo date of Nov. 15.

Nov. 8, 2010: The demo date moves again, to Nov. 22, because testing is still under way and Denney had not secured the permits from IDEM.

Nov. 22, 2010: Demolition begins.

Source: Brown County Democrat archives

See Full List »

Josephine Lee Cueto, 62, Morgantown
  Daughter of Priscilla Burgmeier of Nashville

Mary 'Jane' Kollman, 92, Nashville
  Mother of Janet (Tom) Gaskins of Nashville

Charlotte K. (Adkins) Wilson, 67, Franklin
  Former resident of Brown County

  • November 25
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 25
    Open 12-step meetings in New Bellsville area
    6 to 7 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • November 26
    Go Club meeting Wednesday at coffee/tea shop
    3 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • November 26
    BC Sheriff's Merit Board
    4 p.m. Sheriff's Office, Law Enforcement Center, 55 State Road 46 East
  • November 28
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • November 29
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 29
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • December 2
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • December 3
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • December 4
    Go Club at the library Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • December 12
    Widowed group plans Christmas party
    noon Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • December 12
    BCSP Christmas bird count slated
    8 a.m. BCSP Nature Center, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • December 13
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road