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New juvenile center in Joplin, up for vote today, involves a chu - KOAM TV 7

New juvenile center in Joplin, up for vote today, involves a church

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One item voters are deciding on today is should Jasper County have a new quarter-cent sales tax to fund a new juvenile detention and resource center in Joplin?  If the measure passes by a simple majority, the project would also involve a church.  

Jasper County Commissioner Darieus Adams says he has done all he can.

"We've worked very hard to get the information out there and do the very best we could do to educate the voters," says Adams.

All that remains are faith and hope.

"The sales tax is something that we really researched, as far as to potentially fund this project," says Adams.

Most of the details of buying a church property, the First Baptist Church near the Jasper County courthouse in Joplin, are still on the county's to-do negotiating list.  The county would use the church building as a makeshift juvenile resource center, while the permanent juvenile center would be torn down then rebuilt on the same spot.  The new juvenile center would both house and educate juveniles.

"Then, after the new building is built, we would transition out of the church back into the new facility and then decide the future of the church after that," says Adams.

"We could offer more programs at one time, meaning we would be able to serve more juveniles and their families at one time," says Kelly Sales, a juvenile court administrator.

If voters turn down the measure for a new juvenile detention center, it's unclear if a different plan from the county would still involve the church property.  Adams says church board members have been trying for several years now to sell the building.  All Adams will say, though, is the county will be back to square one.

"That's a very true statement, we'll be back to square one and we'll just have to see what we can do," says Adams.

County commissioners say the proposed quarter-cent sales tax would cover the cost of buying and renovating the church property.  County officials estimate it'll take four years to pay-off the project's $15 million dollar cost.

The proposed project also includes renovating the county courthouse in Carthage.

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