By Shar Porier
Published: Wednesday, July 22, 2009
BISBEE — “I think my constituents would come unglued.” That’s what Cochise County District 2 Supervisor Ann English said of the prospect of a second prison at
When the Arizona Department of Commerce sent out an appeal for a proposal to entice a privately operated 3,000-bed prison, the first location suggested by county staff was the county property at the airport.
L.H. Hamilton, county facilities director, explained that the Department of Commerce had sent requests for proposals to all counties in the state because an unknown company wants to build a prison in
Since the county owns 410 acres at the airport that have been zoned “planned development,”
The property would have to be leased, which
But dangling a carrot in front of English, claiming the facility in her district would create 300 to 500 jobs, did no good. To her, it was a no-brainer.
She explained, “When the prison was built, it was set up as an economic benefit, and they told us new homes would go up to house the influx of employees. There have only been 10 homes built out there. In 25 years since the prison was built, there is no growth. Instead, it just shut down the whole area. And there is no additional work force available in
Supervisor Richard Searle told
It wasn’t the first offer the county has received to participate in a proposal for a prison. Supervisor Pat Call said there was interest shown recently near the county landfill.
“They may be interested, but when you get to the stage of dropping the cloak of secrecy, then they’re looking for free land and anything they can get,” Call said.
For some time, the county has been looking to develop the airport area, but many companies want a pre-existing building of warehouse size to move in and start up operations. The county just doesn’t have that kind of money,
English suggested looking into federal economic stimulus money to set up the infrastructure needed to attract economic development projects, particularly those with low water use.
Searle said he was “neutral” on the matter, while Call agreed with English — no need to pursue it.
Herald/Review reporter Shar Porier can be reached at 515-4692 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Thank you Ken Kopcyznski from Private Corrections Institute for sending this my way.