Cabarrus Arena Jail

Commissioners in North Carolina’s Cabarrus County have agreed to stick with plans to build a temporary jail at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center in Concord.

“Before we even considered it, we asked the two management firms that were being considered at the time if they thought it would impact the facility at all. They said no,” Cabarrus County Manager John Day told Pollstar. “In fact, one of them operated a facility that had a jail nearby and they never experienced any issue with it.”

The 96-bed jail would sit behind the 6,000-capacity venue and be obstructed from public view, he said. It would also meet all safety standards and pose no security threats. To assure that, a razor-wire fence would be installed around the perimeter.

“It would only have the lowest-risk prisoners out there,” Day added. “They’d be processed at the downtown jail, which is currently very overcrowded.”

The $1.7 million project would be paid for by the county, which owns the arena. It would be used until a new permanent jail is finished in early 2008.

“We had to receive a change in the zoning to allow the construction of this facility through the city of Concord,” Day said. “It was limited to the period of time between now and when the new jail opens.”

Later, the building would be used as storage for the arena. Shower facilities would also be available to vendors and recreational vehicle users.

Day could not comment on whether the jail would hurt property value in the surrounding area. Neighbors have reportedly voiced concern about that and potential inmate escapes.

Mitchell Peters