Liberty County commissioners on Tuesday authorized a $50,000 earnest money agreement for a 39-acre tract of land on State Highway 146 in Liberty that will one day be the site of a law enforcement center. The land is being purchased from owner Jesse Lopez and is located just north of McGuire Road and Feathertrace Subdivision.
The law enforcement center will consist of two buildings – one housing the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management, and the other being used for offices for the Texas Ranger, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens, Pct. 3 Constable and Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace.
The entire project is estimated to cost around $25 million. Commissioners on Tuesday also approved a resolution authorizing the publication of a notice of intent to issue combination tax and revenue certificates of obligation, which will fund the project.
“Once we passed the articles for certificates of obligation, I contacted our architect, Kenny Burns, and notified him to proceed with the plans and documents,” said Liberty County Judge Jay Knight on Thursday. “If everything goes well, we look to start turning dirt in January.”
A short-range estimate for when the buildings will be complete is 18 months, though Knight said it could take two years if the weather presents a problem.
Once the sheriff’s office moves into the new building, the current office on Beaumont Avenue next to the county jail will become a headquarters for the jail management contractor. The old emergency management offices inside the jail building will become offices for the Pct. 1 justice of the peace and constable, both of whom are currently using offices inside the county annex on Cos Street.
The intention is to sell the Cos Street building once it is no longer needed by the county.
The new law enforcement center will also allow the County to discontinue renting a portable building for the Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace.
“We have been renting that building in Hardin for years now. It’s been sitting there for 10 years. This will wipe $1,000 per month of rent off our books,” Knight said.
The Liberty County Jail will remain at its present location for now but the project’s master plan has an area set aside for a future jail.