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Jefferson County Residents Protest Proposed Halfway House Location

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GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Jefferson County is considering building a new halfway house and residents protested the location of the facility on Saturday.

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.

The land where the proposed halfway house would be built in Jefferson County (credit: CBS)

The land where the proposed halfway house would be built in Jefferson County (credit: CBS)

“We’ve been knocking on doors so we’re really sort of just a grassroots campaign making sure people are aware and putting our foot down,” said neighbor Amy Sears.

For years the county has been trying to relocate its current community corrections facility from a rundown building on Colfax without any luck.

Sears and about 100 other residents are spreading the word about the proposal to turn the empty lot into a community corrections facility which would house about 200 convicted felons.

Search said families who live nearby are questioning why the area is even being considered.

“The proposed site is about half a mile from three different parks, including the fairgrounds. It’s right across the street from it actually and about two minutes away from two different bus stops,” said Sears.

Jefferson County Administrator Ralph Schell said there are several reasons why the property caught their eye.

“It’s kind of an area that it’s not disruptive to what’s going on with the fairgrounds, I also looked at the number of rooftops in the area, the number of houses in the area, and whether or not there is access to bus transportation,” said Schell.

Other than evaluating the property, Schell said they have no plans to move forward until hearing from residents.

“The challenge is, is there ever going to be a location where the neighborhood says, ‘This works perfect or this works terrific in our area’ and be receptive… I don’t know that we will ever get that,” said Schell.

Regardless of what happens, Sears said they want to make sure their message is clear, “We want to make sure that the county understands how concerned we are and how much we are against them putting this facility in our backyards.”

The cost to build a new facility in Jeffco would be about $14 million. Renovating the current location would only be about $5 or $6 million. Schell said the Rocky Mountain College of Art would like to buy the halfway house’s current building which would make finding a new home for the current residents a priority.

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