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On downtown, jails and redevelopment

WICHITA – A wise person once wrote, “When all is said and done, much more will be said than done.”

That captures the escalating public debate over Sedgwick County’s jail overcrowding problem and what impact, if any, it might have on downtown revitalization.

I have an idea: Let’s get the county, the city, the downtown revitalization folks, the city’s downtown master planner and the county’s jail consultant together at a table to hash this out in a month or so.

To the county and city: My bill is in the mail. Please pay within 30 days.

Seriously, though, some thoughts: I walk away from this raging debate confident that Sedgwick County won’t disrupt downtown revitalization by dumping a work-release center in between Bodacious Bob’s Burger Barn and Selma’s Sundress Senter down by the arena. Admittedly, it doesn’t look like it now, but I have a strong sense that cooler heads are going to prevail.

In the midst of the maelstrom, Sedgwick County Sheriff Bob Hinshaw has been crystal clear, though: His consultant and his criminal justice advisory group will tell him and commissioners whether the county needs a higher-security lockup near the county courthouse downtown, a work-release center that can be dropped on any city bus route or a minimum security commitment center that can go anywhere.

Instead, we’ve got claims, counterclaims and enough backpeddling to make a defensive backfield coach deliriously happy.

It’s unnecessary. What we have here, folks, is a failure to communicate. So let’s talk and fix it.

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