Ford County postpones vote on sale of former sheriff's home and jail

Ford County postpones vote on sale of former sheriff's home and jail

PAXTON — Some Ford County Board members were ready this week to approve the sale of the historic former sheriff's residence and jail on the courthouse square, but others wanted to wait.

The board voted 7-5 to postpone voting on the sale of the vacant structure to the nonprofit Paxton Foundation. The board made plans to review the final contract in upcoming weeks with the intent of approving it in April.

Some board members wanted more time to compare the county's proposal with the one submitted by the foundation.

The board reviewed both proposals this week with the foundation's president, Royce Baier, and both sides were in agreement on what the final document would look like. However, some board members wanted the final contract in hand before proceeding.

The only difference between the two proposals was a requirement in Ford County's proposal that the foundation not seek to have the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Board members were concerned that if the 1871 Italianate-style brick sheriff's residence and attached stone jail — one of the few remaining jails in Illinois built from Athens marble — would be put on the National Register, it could prevent the county from tearing down the building if the foundation were ever to give up ownership of it.

But Baier stressed to the county that the National Register designation would not prevent the county from demolishing it.

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