Workers: Wait for new Schoharie County Jail has gone on too long

SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) –  Employees at the Schoharie County Jail say the wait for a new jail has gone on too long.

The building flooded in 2011, and now workers say there are leaky pipes, a mouse infestation, and no way to regulate the temperature.

It’s been six years since the historic flood at the Schoharie Public Safety building. Even though FEMA agreed to foot the bill, still no jail.

Some employees are complaining about the work conditions, but they may not have to wait much longer.

A jail submerged in feet of flood water is an image Sheriff Tony Desmond remembers vividly.

“The day that it happened I’ll never forget that.”

When the water receded, the future of the jail remained murky.

“There was grass, cornstalks, dead fish, other wildlife that had washed in like snapping turtles, but everything we had here was destroyed.”

The first floor stripped down to the framing, and six years later it remains that way. Upstairs work conditions are less than ideal.

“Sitting here that the computer sweat was just pouring down my back and the sergeant also he was complaining too, it’s so warm and sticky,” Corporal John Lower said.

Lower has worked there for 12 years and is sick of waiting for a new jail.

“We did not expect here it is six years later that we’re still looking at three to five years maybe. They don’t even have a property decided on yet.”

Right now, three sites are being investigated, including a piece of land not far from the existing jail.

FEMA will put up the $37 million to build it, and the sheriff is asking employees to be patient.

“We understand your concern, we understand your desire to have a better place,” Sheriff Desmond said. “If I could do something to move it along, I would.”

As the sheriff walks the empty hallways, he can’t help but remember how well-run the place was and how the community came together to help each other through a devastating time.

“It was great here,” he said. “This was immaculate.”

The optimistic timeline for the new jail is to pick a site by mid-May, put out the construction bids by the end of this year, and start construction in spring of 2018.

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