Local officials and residents in Lincoln are suggesting that a 417-acre plot of land east of the Lincoln city landfill could be a better location for a new state prison than the site currently chosen. Brian Gage, a former prison warden and criminal justice instructor, believes the alternative site would cause less hassle and be more desirable than building the prison in a residential neighborhood. There is growing dissatisfaction with the initial site chosen, which is located near new housing subdivisions and in the path of Lincoln’s growth.
Following the complaints, Governor Jim Pillen and Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird have announced that they will hold a joint press conference to discuss this matter. The newly proposed site is city-owned land just east of the landfill, with few homes in the vicinity. Gage argues that this location would face less opposition due to its distance from residential areas and the convenient barrier of Interstate 80.
Residents and officials have expressed concerns about living near a prison and have called for greater transparency in the decision-making process. Lincoln City Council member James Michael Bowers suggests that if a prison must be built in northeast Lincoln, the landfill site would be more preferred. Gage emphasizes the importance of locating a prison near medical facilities and workforce, which makes the sites in Lincoln ideal. Omaha was considered as a potential location due to the proximity of inmates’ families, but there has been pushback from Omaha officials in the past.
The current site announcement has also received criticism from supporters of the Prairie Pines Nature Preserve, located just east of the proposed prison location. The 145-acre forest area offers hiking trails, wildlife, and garden plots, making it a popular spot for families and schoolchildren. Alternative options are being considered to address these concerns and find the most suitable location for the new state prison.
– Nebraska Examiner