Grayson County’s property inventory is about to grow by a tiny bit. Grayson County commissioners accepted into their weekly minutes Tuesday morning, and then executed an escrow agreement for a small but important piece of property in downtown Sherman.
For the price of $115,000, Grayson County is purchasing the .1933 acres of land at the corner of Crockett and Jones streets. The area is currently used as parking space by St. Stephens Episcopal Church.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said for the time being, the land will continue to be used as parking which will allow for more space for county employees and residents doing business at the Justice Center. The key purpose in acquiring the property was to make sure it was under county control should the county start to need to look to expand the property’s neighbor to the west: the Grayson County Jail.
St. Stephen’s Church in Sherman couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
The county's last expansion project for the jail started in 2011 and was completed in 2012. The $4.9 million project included a 96-bed addition as well as some remodeling of the old jail. In interviews at that time, commissioners said the money to pay for the project came from profits from the expansion of State Highway 289 and fund balance.
The decision to expand the jail back in 2011 came after more than a year's worth of public meetings and plans for everything from a privately run jail to the expansion that eventually happened. At one point, the county considered moving the jail out of downtown.
Magers, who was the mayor of the city of Sherman then, stressed the need to keep the jail downtown on the day the new jail opened saying, "The county is a part of the fabric of our downtown and we want to keep it down here for as long as we possibly can. It is an economic driver for the community."
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