FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Washington County Quorum court has approved $250,000 from the American Rescue Plan will go towards expanding the Washington County Jail.

The money will be used to create an official design for the expansion and modification to the jail.

Several community members spoke against the expansion, saying the county needed to explore other methods of lowering the jail population before spending coronavirus relief funds to expand it.

The pandemic has clearly exacerbated the situation. The having to do all the social distancing things they can’t really afford to do right now and we don’t know how long they’re going to have to do that. They could go on and on. Somethings got to be done and the funding is here now.

Sam Costner, supports the jail expasion.

We need to be more creative about how we handle people who have mental illness, people who have been sort of knocked out of the game because of COVID and are having a tough time being food or housing insecure and not locking them up.

Mac Mayfield, protests the jail expansion

Several community members also spoke against using coronavirus relief funds, saying they wanted it to be used for other things like COVID-19 rapid testing for school-aged children.