Chesapeake considering additional site for juvenile justice center

FILE -- This June 15, 2017 photo shows the former site of the Chesapeake Alternative School. The site was being considered as a possibility for a proposed juvenile detention center. Credit: WAVY/Matt Gregory.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — An additional site is now being looked at for a proposed juvenile justice center in Chesapeake.

City of Chesapeake officials said in a news release Wednesday the former location of the Chesapeake Alternative School on Minuteman Drive has been identified as another possibility.

A site on South Military Highway the City of Chesapeake has considered for a proposed juvenile detention center. Credit: WAVY/Matt Gregory.

This site “merits strong consideration,” according to officials. A number of reviews and permits need to be addressed for the site.

City council will not be considering this site at its June 27 meeting in order to fully review it as a possibility, the news release stated.

The city has previously held public hearings for a location on South Military Highway.

The proposed Joint Juvenile Justice Center would hold 112 offenders and would cost about $47 million.

Some residents who live near that site have voiced opposition to the proposed center. One resident told 10 On Your Side last November that the center would be right in his backyard.

“I am concerned,” Mary Felton said. “Someone might escape. Anything could happen. I really don’t know.”

“Before it’s built, there’s always opposition and because of that, you really have an obligation explore all the alternatives,” city manager Jim Baker said.

Baker told 10 On Your Side the new site wasn’t on the table at first because it would cost millions to run a waterline to it. But the city began looking at running a waterline down to the area to encourage development. That changed everything.

“If we decide to put that 36 inch waterline and it goes right by this site then its no longer an impediment the additional; cost becomes nominal,” Baker said.

Even with the new, more rural area, Baker expects neighbors to be concerned.

“One of the things you’ll have to do is talk to folks in this area and have a community meeting,” he said. “I doubt they’ll be thrilled either.”