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Planning Continues On Overhaul Of Atlanta City Detention Center

The task force charged with transforming the Atlanta City Detention Center met for the second time Tuesday.
The task force charged with transforming the Atlanta City Detention Center met for the second time Tuesday.
Credit Emil Moffatt / WABE
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Plans to repurpose the Atlanta City Detention Center continue to take shape.

The group in charge of the transformation met again Tuesday.

As city policies changed and the jail population plummeted, Atlanta decided to evolve the facility from a place where people were detained to a place where they got help.

Co-chair Marilynn Winn says the public has helped the task force define what kind of services will be offered.

Atlanta decided to evolve the facility from a place where people were detained to a place where they got help as city policies changed and the jail population dropped. (Alison Guillory/WABE)

“Education, mental health, physical health, health and wellness, drug addiction,” Winn said. “Maybe like a one-stop shop. Once you come in the door, you can find everything you need in this place.”

But the former jail could also provide an affordable housing option for those who were formerly incarcerated, says Bill McGahan, another co-chair.

“They’re willing to pay $400 a month or so to live in a facility because that price point is pretty attractive to them, they get meals. But then also, they’re part of a community where there are services around them,” McGahan said.

As for the annual cost of operating the facility, McGahan thinks individual tenants and perhaps nonprofit organizations could help the city generate revenue.

“We want to have enough rent to make the building self-sustaining,” McGahan said.

A consultant says the transformation of the building could cost the city between $70 million and $110 million.

There are three more scheduled meetings before the task force delivers its recommendations to the mayor in February. The next one is Oct. 8.