The City of Paso Robles is considering buying the old Youth Correctional Facility on Airport Road that’s been closed for over a decade.
The facility was permanently closed in 2008 due to a major policy change in how the state deals with juvenile offenders.
The city is now looking at the possibility of purchasing it from the state, but only under certain conditions.
“It is property that probably could be used for something better,” said Rob Kinnear, President of Estrella Warbirds Museum, located just one mile away.
He’s passed the untouched grounds for years.
“Kept wondering if the state would ever need it again. Apparently, they don’t,” Kinnear said.
About 60 structures, some of them older than others, sit on the 100-plus acre piece of land.
The Department of Corrections says the first juvenile wards were housed there in 1947.
After closures in 1972 and again in 2008, it might get a new life.
“We’ve discussed things like developing homeless shelters,” said Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin. “We’ve talked about affordable housing development, the possibility of agricultural worker housing.”
The city has been in talks with the state for two years.
The property would cost $4.8 million. The next step is for the city to decide whether to buy it.
“If we acquire the property, it would be only with tenants that would allow us to recoup the purchase price,” Martin explained. “We have no intent of spending general fund money and just hanging on to the land.”
If the city decides not to buy the property, it will be available on the open market.
“It’s going to be up to the city fathers of Paso Robles to find out if it’s really worth it,” Kinnear concluded.
The city has a couple of months to get back to the state.
There will be an opportunity for the public to weigh in but first, the city council is set to discuss this topic during closed session on Tuesday.