ASOTIN — The architects working on the new Asotin County Jail will update the public on the project at 6:30 tonight in a town hall meeting.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only 10 people are allowed inside the commissioners’ chambers at Asotin. However, residents can listen to the presentation online via the county’s website, www.co.asotin.wa.us.

While in town, the Florida-based architects will be visiting potential sites for the $13.7 million jail, Commissioner Chris Seubert said on Monday. The final location has not been selected, but the preferred site is on county-owned property, north of the Asotin County Regional Landfill near Sixth Avenue and Evans Road.

Several residents have been having trouble watching the county’s online meetings, but Seubert said the problems have been resolved, and he hopes people will tune in to the town hall presentation. The board is trying to engage the public, even though the pandemic limits interaction, he said.

“We apologize to anyone who couldn’t log in to our recent meetings,” Seubert said. “One of the commissioners had the same problem today. Chuck Whitman wasn’t able to hear us and couldn’t vote on any of the action items.”

Tonight’s discussion is primarily an opportunity to let residents know how the jail project is progressing, he said. The public can comment about the location or any other concerns by calling (509) 243-2060, emailing the board at bocc@co.asotin.wa.us, or sending a letter to P.O. Box 250, Asotin, WA 99402. The comment period will remain open until Oct. 13.

Seubert said the town hall meeting has been in the works for weeks, and the commissioners didn’t realize the first televised presidential debate would occur on the same night.

“We apologize for holding this town hall meeting during the debate,” Seubert said. “We had no idea it would on the same night when we planned this.”

In other county business, the commissioners approved a $70,000 upgrade to Superior Court, District Court and the commission chambers to improve audio, video and microphones. The improvements will be covered by CARES federal funding.

Officials said the upgrades are necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic because the three sites are used for court proceedings or recorded public hearings. The contract with “For the Record” will help Asotin County facilitate video conferencing while maintaining social distancing, said Chris Kemp, chief operations official.

Sandaine may be contacted at kerris@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2264. Follow her on Twitter @newsfromkerri.

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