The Dukes County jail could soon have an infusion of $1.7 million in cash as part of a capital bond bill that passed the Senate, according to a press release issued by Sen. Julian Cyr’s office.
The money is part of $53 million set aside for Cape and Islands projects in the bond bill. The bill still has to be reconciled with a House version and, ultimately, signed by the governor before it’s a done deal.
Dukes County Sheriff Robert Ogden said the money would be used to bring the Edgartown facility, built in 1873, into compliance in key areas, including fire safety. Ogden said the jail doesn’t have proper fire alarms or sprinkler systems in place, nor does it have an exit available in the back of the building, he said.
The building’s heating and ventilation system is also suspect. “One of the things we don’t come into compliance with is how air is moved around in the facility,” he said. There are also issues with mold, he said.
There are plenty of things wrong with the jail that need to be addressed, and Ogden said he would spread the $1.7 million as far as he could. There is also a need to replace a staircase and a pre-release trailer, which is where inmates approved for work-release are held, is “completely falling apart,” he said. Only four out six cells can be used in that section, which was added in the 1970s, Ogden said.
Ogden understands the money is not a done deal. “We’ve gotten assurances that [Rep. Dylan] Fernandes and Cyr will lobby for this money,” he said.
The bulk of the $53 million is headed for a Cape Cod Community College science building, according to Cyr’s release.
“These investments represent a variety of important infrastructure needs district-wide, including funding to help renovate existing buildings, build a new county-owned office for the Cape Cod Commission, and address transportation and water infrastructure needs,” he said in a prepared statement. “We worked hard to ensure there was geographic equity and fairness for the many pivotal needs of my district, and acquiring funding in the Senate Capital Bond Bill will help make these capital projects happen. My office will continue this success by working with each recipient to let the Baker Administration know how important these projects are to our region.”