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Law Enforcement Center construction continues; Siouxlanders speak out against COVID money being used for project

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Construction continues on the new Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center.

Leaders said extra dirt placed on the site has compacted the dirt underneath, allowing it to settle. Now, the contractor will take about seven days to move out that extra dirt. After that, Hausmann will start digging footings the building will sit on.

Ron Wieck, Chairman of the Law Enforcement Center Authority, said these are just the beginning stages.

"Everything that we're doing is to make sure that this building lasts for the decades that it's supposed to be lasting for. We're probably looking at something in the area of 2023. The beginning of 2023," said Wieck.

As construction continues, citizens Thursday gathered at the Woodbury County Courthouse to voice their opinions on what they call the misappropriation of COVID relief funds to build the new jail.

Local leaders and citizens came to speak. They said they were trying to appeal to the board of supervisors to withdraw their decision to use covid money for the jail.

About $15 million of COVID-19 funds will be used on the project.

"As quickly as it's come in, it's going to be leaving. It should be focused on things towards helping the houselessness, helping those that are on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, with their benefits and pay. It should be focused on deliverable gains for the community of Woodbury County. Not going to out of state and out of county contractors and subcontractors for the prison project," said David Bushaw, United Today, Stronger Tomorrow.

Leaders with the Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center Authority said since the COVID money came in, they've been working with their law firm and government leaders to make sure the funds are used properly.

"We have worked to the point where we understand that we can utilize the COVID money for this project. By Iowa law, we had to take the lowest bid of a responsible contractor and that's what we did. And a lot of what's happening today at the courthouse is from that. They're not agreeing with the process, but we followed the law in the process and we're doing what the law says," said Wieck.

Wieck added it's important to continue to move forward with the new jail, as it will be a better functioning facility for the people of Woodbury County.

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Emily Schrad

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