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Fate of old Oswego County jail being decided

Oswego County's old jail is falling apart and now officials are deciding what to do with it.

Age, asbestos and steel-reinforced walls make it unlikely that Oswego County's old jail could be renovated. The only option is for it to be demolished, says Fred Beardsley, chairman of the Oswego County Legislature.

"I think that the building should definitely come down. It's a safety issue and its an eyesore at this point," said Beardsley.

The building has started to come apart. Paint falls off the ceiling inside, while outside loose bricks have started to pile up and overgrown shrubs peek out of the chimney.

Beardsley appointed a three-person special committee to research plans for the jail. They met for the first time last week. The committee's chairman agrees that demolition is inevitable.

Beardsley says he hopes selling the jail's steel and metalwork as scrap will cover most of the demolition costs.

The riverfront property the jail sits on could also be a source of revenue. Lawmakers will consider if its best for the county to hold on to the site or sell it to a commercial interest. The committee could issue its final report by year's end.

The jail housed prisoners for 86 years from 1908 until it was closed in 1994. It included about 100 cells and also had a residence for the county sheriff .