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Knox County leaders are preparing to ask for proposals to build a long discussed safety center.

The purchasing department is working with the Safety Center Task Force to develop a request for proposals (RFP). The city and county formed a joint task force this summer to discuss the plans.

The center would house inmates jailed for minor crimes, on particular people suffering from a mental illness or addiction

to drug and alcohol. The goal of the center would push them toward rehabilitation and break the cycle of regular trips to jail.

The location of the safety center is still on the table. the options include a couple of site downtown.

Task force co-chair and Knox County Chief of Staff Dean Rice tells 10News that the committee and Mayor Tim Burchett looked at information on the potential population of the center and decided to move forward with a very detailed RFP.

When that process is finished, the committee and the mayor will determine if, how and when to move forward. Leaders hope to have the RFP ready to open for bids in a couple of weeks.