Riverside County officials Monday celebrated the demolition of the county's Administrative Center in Indio that will make way for a new jail.
The demolition process started about a month ago on the site of the future 1,626-bed East County Detention Center, the centerpiece of $375 million worth of county improvements in downtown Indio. The administration building will be razed by heavy equipment instead of imploded because it's too close to other structures, Fourth District Supervisor John Benoit said.
"I'm pleased to say today is a milestone I'm extremely excited to be reaching," Benoit said before taking a golden sledgehammer to the administration building, which is around 40 years old.
A four-courtroom annex and public safety radio communications building and tower will also be demolished. Demolition is expected to be finished by July, and the $350 million jail occupied by 2017, according to Benoit.
The East County Detention Center will replace the Indio Jail, will triple the number of inmate beds and employ a few hundred people once fully operational. It will be across the street from the Larson Justice Center, which is logistically important for transporting inmates to and from court, Benoit said.
Indio Mayor Michael Wilson said the facility brings more jobs to the city and adds value to new downtown infrastructure. College of the Desert recently opened its Indio campus, and a county law building and East County Emergency Operations Center are being built. The last county project will be a 1,000-space parking structure.
Paraphrasing President Ronald Reagan's statement at the Berlin Wall in 1987, Wilson said, "Mr. Benoit, tear down these walls."
The new jail is expected to help ease overcrowding that some local officials blame on Assembly Bill 109 -- the Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011 -- in which so-called "non-serious, non-violent" offenders convicted of felonies that do not stem from a sex crime are serve their sentences in local detention facilities, rather than state prison.
– City News Service.