BY BRIAN HAYTCHER

bhaytcher@starbeacon.com

JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Commissioners approved environmental and geotechnical work on three potential sites for the proposed new county jail.

The work is expected to be completed within 60 days, and the cost is limited to $41,900, according to the resolution.

The work will include soil cores and other tests to determine whether or not the sites will be feasible for the jail, said Commissioner Casey Kozlowski.

Kozlowski said that the sites are in the “Jefferson area,” but did not elaborate further on the locations.

A new jail has been in the works for some time. A report released in 2019 estimated the cost of a new jail at $51 million, including contingency costs. In the past, Kozlowski said he expects the cost to be around $43 million.

The current jail was opened in 1978, and has a capacity of 169 inmates, according to the county’s website.

In other business:

• The commissioners approved an agreement with Agile Networks for broadband services in Cherry Valley Township.

The agreement will allow Agile Networks to install wireless network equipment on a MARCS radio tower in Cherry Valley, according to the resolution. The equipment will provide wireless broadband to anyone within line of sight to the tower.

The equipment will provide internet in a seven- to eight-mile radius around the tower, Commissioner J.P. Ducro said.

Ducro said there are around 9,700 homes in the area, about 8,000 of which are underserved in terms of internet access.

Around half of those homes would have line of sight to the tower, and more would be able to get line of sight to the tower with some basic construction, Ducro said.

• The commissioners approved creation of a new fund, to receive money through the county’s Transportation Improvement District.

The TID was created in 2019, and can help secure grant funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Funding from the TID has previously been used for road work in Ashtabula and Conneaut.

• The commissioners approved declaring a variety of equipment obsolete. A wide variety of computers will be auctioned off.

Additionally, three Mack trucks and four pickup trucks will be up for auction.

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