Beside the boardwalk: Jail construction creates challenge in accessing court building


By Diana L. Coleman
Legal News

The construction of the county’s new jail has begun.

It may not be the yellow brick road, but one must follow signs and stay on the boardwalk to access the Michael E. Kobza Hall of Justice.

Construction of the new Muskegon County jail is exciting progress for the Muskegon County law enforcement community, but does create a bit of a puzzle for visitors to the Hall of Justice.  How does one get to the entrance? People seem very confused about it.

The county has actually done an excellent job of posting signs, placing arrows, and creating new handicap, senior, and women with small children parking spaces along the Apple Avenue side of the lot.

Visitors must enter the lot from Pine Street and stay close to the temporary fence enclosing the construction site.  Parking is on Pine and other side streets, and in the former county employee lot. To make it a bit more of a challenge, the construction requires periodic closures of Pine Street.  The county hopes the Pine Street closures, between Walton and Myrtle, with only be for one day at a time several times throughout the construction.

Pine Street must be excavated to enable connection to the county’s sanitary sewer system. The construction crews hope that the closures will only last a day, but could possibly extend into two days.

Just to spice the pot, in approximately mid-May the main, secured entrance to the Hall of Justice will flip to the Terrace Street entrance. At the same time the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department security screen station, through which all must pass when entering the building, is moved.  Until then the boardwalk leads to the Pine Street entrance.

The jail’s $37.2 million construction project expects cost overruns that will drive the project closer to $45 million. The county raised approximately $39 million via bond sale and is using $6 million of cash savings.