Commissioners could demolish Old Taylor Co. Jail

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — If a buyer does not come forward to purchase the Old Taylor County Jail at 341 Pecan St., Taylor County Commissioners will demolish the building and create additional parking for South Downtown Abilene. The county will host a public hearing regarding the building’s potential demolition on Dec. 10.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Taylor County Commissioners presented a model of the county’s courthouse where, soon, its parking lot will become a small community park. Judge Downing Bolls said the construction of this park creates one more reason why the old Taylor County Jail should be demolished. The judge argued an additional advantage of keeping ownership of the property is the ability to build something at 341 Pecan St. in the future.

“They think we’ve got plenty of parking,” said Bolls. “You may agree. You may or may not agree. If you’ve ever come down on a Monday morning, let me tell you, you would not agree.”

Commissioners also argued the structure, which was built in 1931, lost its historic value in the ’60s, when administrative offices in a so-called “cocoon” were built along the base of the building.

Lieutenant Craig Griffis of the Taylor County Sheriff’s office said a few words during the public comment section of the meeting. His late father was the building’s last jail administrator. He admitted, his father also thought the jail was an eyesore.

“He felt that it was kind of an eyesore as well,” said Griffis. “Once they added the sheriff’s office addition to it that was modern–it kind of took away all of the mystique and historical look of the building.”

Griffis said, no matter if there is a building standing, he will always hold cherished memories of visiting his father at 341 Pecan St.

“It’s not going to change the fact that that’s where the jail stood, that’s where people were incarcerated, that’s where business was handled,” said Griffis. “Those memories are never gonna fade, and there’s other ways to honor that–with photographs and stories.”

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