A delay in closing the purchase of a 78-acre farm in Lancaster Township has delayed design work on the new Lancaster County Jail, county commissioners said at a council meeting on Thursday prison.
County Commissioner Ray D’Agostino said in December he would make a presentation in January on the county’s next steps in creating a new jail design committee, but he and County Commissioner Josh Parsons have said Thursday that would happen later, now that the closing of the land purchase is delayed.
Last month, D’Agostino said the purchase would likely be completed by the end of December or early this month.
“I don’t know what the timeline is for that yet,” Parsons told the prison board on Thursday.
The Board of Commissioners has yet to approve a final motion from the county attorney to proceed with the closing of the $3 million purchase of the 78-acre property off Highway 222 in Lancaster Township, said D’Agostino at the prison board meeting on Thursday.
“We had a few loose ends, so we’re just sorting that out before we submit it to the board of commissioners and the prison board,” D’Agostino said at the meeting on Thursday. Those details involved documentation to complete the sale and scheduling issues, he said.
Randy Kreider, a family member who is selling his property to the county, told LNP | LancasterOnline that the sale process is going well and that both parties are “working out dates that work best for all parties,” he said in a text message.
The two parties are working on “small details from agricultural rights to construction,” Kreider said. The family has grown tomatoes, corn and soybeans on the property for years.
D’Agostino reiterated his promise at Thursday’s prison board meeting to discuss the formation of a new design committee in public meetings and seek public input.
That committee may include some residents, D’Agostino said last year.
A month ago, county officials cleared a major hurdle in the effort to build a new jail, when Lancaster Township supervisors approved zoning changes to allow a correctional facility to operate on the closed.
The rezoning was the last unfulfilled term of the sale agreement between the county and the Kreider family, the current owners of the peninsula carved out by the Conestoga River.
While the formation of a design committee may be on the horizon, the actual construction of a new prison is still a few years away.
“It’s not next year that we’ll see a shovel in the ground, probably not the next year, but maybe the year after that,” D’Agostino said in December.