- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 6, 2016

FORT VALLEY, Ga. (AP) - The old Peach County jail is coming down.

“It has a rich history, but its history is passed,” Fort Valley Mayor Barbara Williams said Tuesday.

The city took ownership of the two-story brick building in a land swap with the county a few years ago.

For at least three years, there has been talk of saving the old building. But no one raised the funds, and it was time to move on, Williams said.

But not everybody is happy about the building’s demise.

Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said he would have liked to see the building, built in 1925, renovated and preserved for historic purposes.

In its day, the building was home to the county sheriff and his family, Deese said. The family lived on the first floor, inmates were housed on the second floor, and the sheriff’s wife cooked meals for the inmates, Deese said. The jail housed 18 inmates in a large cell, and it also featured five isolation cells.

“There’s a lot of history,” he said.

The building was last used as the county jail in 1986 when a judge found it did not meet modern standards for housing inmates, Deese said.

The building later was home to the Peach County Emergency Medical Service but has been vacant in recent years, Williams said.

Bricks from the building are expected to be sold for reuse, which should help offset the $5,000 cost of the building’s demolition, she said. The old jail will be torn down in phases to allow the bricks to be gathered.

Under Williams’ administration, the city has condemned and torn down vacant residences that have fallen into disrepair from neglect, said Public Works Director Larry Brown. At least 100 dilapidated houses have come down, Williams estimated.

“We’re just ridding the community of the slum and blight, and this is one of them,” Williams said of the old jail.

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Information from: The Macon Telegraph, https://www.macontelegraph.com


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