Winnebago County unveils million-dollar plan for sex offender housing
Winnebago Co. unveils plan for million dollar sex offender housing

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WLUK) -- Million-dollar housing for violent sex offenders could be coming to Oshkosh.

The plan was introduced earlier this week.

"It keeps us from having those uncomfortable conversations in the community that we shouldn’t have to have," said Winnebago County Executive Jon Doemel.

He's trying to solve a years-long problem: a place to house violent sex offenders after their sentence is complete.

"There’s no great solution that everybody likes but I think it’s the best solution for a really hard situation," he offered. 

Million-dollar housing for violent sex offenders could be coming to Oshkosh. (WLUK video)

The Winnebago County executive talked on a plan introduced Tuesday night. It’s a proposal for the county to build apartment units in a rural area of Oshkosh.

County-provided documents show the price tag racking up to just over $1 million.

It’s a possible solution that doesn’t come without talking history.

Mary Anne Mueller, speaking at the Tuesday county board meeting, outlined the details namely a switch of responsibility just a few years ago.

"Act 184 was signed into law by Gov. (Scott) Walker and took effect March 30, 2018," she began. "Specifically, the entity responsible for finding housing as the county as opposed to the state. There are strict parameters. The sexually violent person would have to be 1,500 feet from a childcare center, from a school, from a house of worship, from a youth center, from a nursing home, so those are very hard criteria to meet when you are in an urban setting."

There aren’t a lot of options for county housing to go but this is the proposed site. Right along County Road Y in Oshkosh, it's far from schools or assisted living facilities, but close to law enforcement in case of a needed response. 

"Who’s on board with this? Have you gotten any support or pushback either way on this plan?" asked FOX 11. 

"Well I think there’s support and there’s a lot of support I think in the rural communities," Doemel answered. " It’s hard as it is to support a project like this. I think there’s understanding.

As for what’s next, Doemel says he hopes to bring the issue back in front of the board within the month.

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