Laura Strimple, (402) 580-9495
Jacy Schafer, (531) 510-8529
Gov. Pillen and Lincoln Mayor Announce Property Swap for New Prison
LINCOLN, NE – Today, Governor Jim Pillen joined Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird in announcing the new agreed upon site for the state’s new 1,512-bed correctional facility. The property, approximately 300 acres, is located north of I-80 adjacent to 70th Street. In exchange, the state will relinquish property it had previously contracted at 112th and Adams.
Gov. Pillen called the new location a “win-win-win” for the people of Nebraska, the city of Lincoln and the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS).
“This is the site we need, and this was the site initially identified by the state for building the new facility,” said Gov. Pillen. “I appreciate that my team and the team assembled by Mayor Gaylor Baird worked diligently to get the land swap accomplished in a short period of time.”
Construction on the site north of I-80 will begin in the fall of 2024, with completion scheduled in 2027. That is the same construction timeline that was announced for the property at 112th and Adams.
During the news conference today, Mayor Gaylor Baird said the property at 112th and Adams was a better alternative for future city planning.
“We thank the Governor and his team for their willingness to pivot and partner with us to achieve the best outcome for all involved,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “As we move forward, the State may count on continued collaboration with our city team. As Mayor, I will continue to advocate for the best interests of our community members throughout the planning and construction process ahead.”
During the news conference today, Gov. Pillen and Mayor Gaylor Baird signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that sets out the terms and conditions for exchanging the properties. Under that agreement, the city will provide water, sewer and electrical service to the site. In addition, the city will provide landscaping and will remove the wind turbine and other structures that currently exist.
Gov. Pillen said that 70 or more properties had been evaluated during the previous administration. When he was elected, the property at I-80 and 70th Street was presented as a possibility, in addition to the one at 112th and Adams.
“I knew the property at I-80 and 70th Street was the better option, especially in terms of location,” said Gov. Pillen. “When it was obvious the city was not interested in having the prison in Lincoln, I felt we needed to move forward with our next best option.”
Key considerations for keeping a prison close to Lincoln include an available workforce, travel distance for volunteers and visiting family members as well as access to utilities and emergency response services.
NDCS Dir. Jeffreys echoed the Governor’s assessment that the property at I-80 and 70th Street was the premier choice.
“We are pleased to be building the facility on the site near the interstate,” said Jeffreys. “This land was within the Department’s consideration all along and will provide an excellent site for the replacement facility. This investment is key to our ability to provide opportunities for change that people need to return to our communities and be successful.”
The 1,512-bed prison will replace the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP), which is the oldest facility in the state’s prison system.