GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Jefferson County is considering building a new halfway house in Golden, and the idea has neighbors worried.
Its location would be right next to the Foothills Animal Shelter, Jefferson County Fairgrounds and Mesa View Estates neighborhood. The piece of empty property is causing a stir between neighbors and Jefferson County officials.
“It’s in our backyard, and the whole area’s backyard,” said one Golden resident.
For years the county has been trying to relocate its current community corrections facility from a rundown building on Colfax without any luck.
“I’ve looked in every incorporated area in the county and every unincorporated area throughout the county,” said Jefferson County Administrator Ralph Schell.
Schell says after looking at upwards of 60 properties their interest has turned to a lot directly next to the fairgrounds.
Right now the county is simply looking at the location as a possibility but if the purchase were to move forward it would be home to approximately 200 convicted felons.
Neighbors have concerns about property values decreasing and worry about residents of the facility wandering the area.
“It’s a high potential. The county says it won’t happen but common sense says it will happen,” said a Golden resident.
“There are exclusion zones where they can’t go. Some residents are on a GPS, some might have a GPS on a cell phone,” said Kathy Otten from Justice Services.
The Golden Hills neighborhood and residents from Mesa View Estates are speaking out against it.
In a statement one home owner’s association said “a new community corrections facility adjacent to so many neighborhood parks, an elementary school and our county’s most family-friendly amenity, the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, just doesn’t make sense.”
Jefferson County wants that input before moving forward but thinks this piece of property might just make the most sense for them.
“It’s a matter of seeing if we can get a location that works best for the program, works best for us, works best for the tax payers,” said Schell.
The county says renovating the current building would cost $5 million to $6 million. They aren’t sure they want to spend that money on a building that might not last.
Both neighborhoods and the county are planning a community meeting to discuss concerns but have not set a date just yet.