ST. LOUIS — Officials in St. Louis started the long process of figuring out what to do with The Workhouse, the city’s Medium Security Institution.

On Monday, the Mayor’s Planning and Urban Design Agency issued a “Request for Proposal” for groups and organizations to bid on a contract for community engagement for the project.

Their job would be to bring various groups together to get their opinions on what to do with the 23-acre site.

There are only 20 inmates on The Workhouse Campus now. They will be moved to the downtown Justice Center once repairs are made.

FOX 2’s Elliott Davis talked to Mayor Tishaura Jones spokesman Nick Dunne. The mayor had made closing The Workhouse, and doing something else with the facility and the grounds was a key campaign pledge.

Dunne said a city this size doesn’t need two jails and that the downtown Justice Center will be fine once repairs are made.

However, Alderman Joe Vaccaro said closing the Workhouse is a big mistake. He said the city doesn’t have room enough for all the inmates it has now.

He’s not the only one who feels that way. Board President Lewis Reed also called it a bad idea, saying that it puts the public at risk.  

Reponses to the RFP issued today are due back on April 19.