Benton County celebrates recovery milestone - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Benton County celebrates recovery milestone

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VINTON (KWWL) -- Nearly two years since the Benton County Law Enforcement Center was devastated by floodwater, the county is celebrating a milestone in recovery.

Several county officials were joined by Congressman Leonard Boswell to turn a shovel of dirt marking the rebuilding of the center.

Demolition of the building began in October of 2009 and today, crews have already begun erecting walls for the new one.

Sheriff Randy Forsyth says the new building will have a new jail layout.

Forsyth says the new building will solve the biggest problem his department has had to deal with since the floods -- housing prisoners.  He says not only has it cost them over $500,000 to house prisoners in other counties, it also cut-off a source of income from housing other counties prisoners in Benton County.

Today's celebration also marked another piece of good news.

Thanks to a $500,000 congressional allotment, the county will also build a new emergency operations center right next to the new law enforcement center.

The current emergency operations center is housed in the basement of the courthouse and doesn't have enough room.

Jason Sanders, Chairman of the Benton County Board of Supervisors says the old space worked, but employees were "sitting on top of each other".

He adds that the new operations center will be state-of-the-art which will help them respond better the next time Benton County faces a disaster.

The new buildings are scheduled to open on May 1, 2011.

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