On Aug. 24, the Perry County Board of Commissioners unanimously chose a design criteria consultant for its joint justice center project.
St. Louis-based firm Navigate Building Solutions will be assisting the county as it continues the process of seeing a new jail and court facility become a reality.
All four applicants were reviewed and it down to the top two for the commissioners.
"We chose to interview two, that was Navigate (Building Solutions) and Zahner's (& Associates)," said Perry County Presiding Commissioner Mike Sauer. "After the interview process with them, the commission voted unanimously to go with Navigate because of the experience they have building jails and other facilities like this. Zahner's is right there with them, we just felt safer dealing with someone that has already done this multiple times."
"We have a lot of important decisions to make about the justice center, and hiring Navigate will be a huge asset to the county during this process," said District 1 Commissioner Jay Wengert.
"They have done jails all over the United States," said District 2 Commissioner Keith Hoehn. "Their knowledge and expertise will help save the county time and money."
“It’s one of the most critical elements of the decision-making process,” said Perry County Clerk Jared Kutz. “It’s absolutely the most important thing to this point because this entity, this firm is going to be our partner all the way through the design and construction of this project. They are going to be with us for a lot of steps on this thing. Construction is going to be critical but the design, knowing and putting this together, we spoke in the campaign, this is a project, a building that we want to stand for 100 years. We’re combining for the purposes of maximizing our use of resources and sharing resources.”
Kutz outlined the specific work the design criteria consultant would be tasked with.
“This is a very unique venture,” Kutz said. “Picking a DCC is going to help guide us, show us what this is going to look like, help us design it, help us to say, ‘These are the requirements, what needs to be in this building.’”
Navigate initially sent a proposal to the county in mid-July.
"We are excited about this assignment and are confident in our firm's ability to ensure your success," said Todd Sweeney of Navigate in a July 14 proposal to Kutz. "...we are confident in our ability to provide best-in-class services and to successfully executive this complex, challenging and rewarding project."
Sauer said the county is doing its best to get Navigate up to speed.
"We're reviewing sites, trying to get them on board," Sauer said. "Once we get them on board we'll share this site information with them. They'll understand how we came to the conclusion of what sites are left. They will be involved probably in the final phase of the sites that are chosen. They will start creating a packet of what do we need in this building? How do we design it? What do we want it to look like? They know all the little nuts and bolts that have to go in here and every 'I' that's got to be dotted and every 'T' that has to be crossed. They will be taking care of that."
In June, the commissioners reviewed proposals of land possibilities they previously were not aware of. The only specific criteria were that the location must be at least six acres and within the city limits, according to Sauer.
Public officials from both the county and city were tasked with prioritizing the potential locations in late August.
“It’s very important to ask the office holders that have been entrusted by the people to serve in those positions, it’s important to ask them what they need in their place of work,” Kutz said.
The 14 objectives include: minimize initial development cost, maximize project's environmental clean-up, minimize impact to residential zoning, maximize improvement of historical structures, consider potential for immediate economic impact in Perryville, consider potential for future economic development, optimize utilization of existing public infrastructure, assess visible and prominent location, consider overall neighborhood impact, maximize ingress/egress for safety of patrol/public, evaluate public perception/acceptance and accessibility to schools, residents and businesses. A ranking, from No. 1-7, will be completed ahead of the commissioner's meeting Thursday, Sept. 2.
“The (county) commission is going to take all of that information and try to choose the best location based on all that information, and ultimately, all of the other information that comes from this study and all the logistical things,” Kutz said. “There is a lot the commission has to consider and this is just another tool to help with the decision.”
The properties that were a part of the internal review include: Sycamore Road, Perryville Boulevard (Highway 51 bypass) across from the Bank of Missouri Soccer complex, Old St. Mary's Road (south of Highway 51/west of Highway 61), Highway 51 industrial park (across from T.G. Missouri), St. Boniface property (west of Church Street, north of St. Joseph Street), Sutterer Place (east of Highway 61) and Highway 51 bypass (just north of Citizens Electric Corporation).
"We'll have it down to two or three locations by Sept. 9," Sauer said.
A public hearing on the potential location of the joint justice center will take place Thursday, Sept. 9, at 5:30 p.m. in the Perry County Courthouse.
"(It is) an opportunity to share with the public the pieces of property that have become available for purchase and how we go through the process of elimination to get it down to the site we're going to pick," Sauer said.
Tax rate hearing
A public hearing on the 2021 Perry County tax rate will take place Thursday, Sept. 2, at 1:30 p.m. in the County Commission chambers (321 North Main Street, Perryville). Real property and personal property were valued at $403,721.195 in 2021, an increase of $35,092,246, or about 9.51 percent.