The wife of a retired Johnston County prosecutor said Buffalo Road is no place for a new county jail. Tucker Twisdale, the wife of retired District Attorney John Twisdale, appeared before Johnston County Commissioners on Tuesday expressing opposition to the proposed Public Safety Complex at 1860 Buffalo Road, which is adjacent to land the couple owns. She said she doesn’t want the jail complex built next door to her home.
Mrs. Twisdale said it makes no sense to build a jail 10 to 15 minutes away from the courthouse when she believes Johnston Street could be closed off and a jail built beside the current Johnston County Courthouse. She said it would not hurt the landscape of Downtown Smithfield.
Addressing county commissioners, Twisdale said they were the overseers of taxpayer money. She said the wisest use of taxpayer money would be to construct the new jail on land the county already owns and not on 68 acres they will have to purchase at a price tag of $1,564,000 or $23,000 per acre.
“Just because you can afford to buy a new car doesn’t mean you buy one,” she said stating she could afford to buy a new car but didn’t wish to spend the money so she drives a 2003 model. Mrs. Twisdale said while the county could afford the land purchase it was not the best use of taxpayer money. “It is not the thing to do.”
In November, Commissioners voted 4-to-3 to purchase the property. In December 14 people spoke in opposition of the site at the Smithfield Town Council meeting.
In 2008, the 68 acre tract was approved for The River Bluffs Subdivision – 106 single family homes and 62 townhouse units – but the project never got off the ground because of the recession. The developer later sold the land to its current owner, Frank Lee.