By Janet DelTufo, Assistant Editor
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) continues to eye property in Forepaugh for a prison project while waiting for the release of an official 5,000-bed RFP (request for proposal) from the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC).
It is unknown exactly when the RFP will be released to potential bidders, although the contract is scheduled to be awarded in June 2010. According to ADC officials, the RFP is currently awaiting approval from the Arizona State Legislature’s Joint Budget Legislative Committee.
House Bill 2010 was signed into law this past September and called for ADC to go out and find 5,000 beds. The beds can be split up and given to more than one bidder if necessary.
If CCA and the Town of Wickenburg find a way to make the Forepaugh property work, which consists of 78-acres of town-owned property and additional privately owned adjacent property, CCA would like to build a correctional facility and begin with about 2,600 beds.
CCA representatives have had meetings with members of the Wickenburg Economic Development Partnership and recently hosted a 21-person tour of their Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy. CCA officials will now spend some time in Wickenburg meeting with a number of additional groups.
“We will have discussions with a wide array of individuals in the Wickenburg area, and there will be forums for individuals to ask questions,” said CCA Senior Director Brad Wiggins. “We will have presentations and forums because we want to see if we are a good fit for Wickenburg.”
CCA has a number of sites around the state in mind for this project, but the Forepaugh area remains of interest to the company. Wiggins said CCA regards Wickenburg as a place where a family can find and maintain a strong quality of life.
“We regard Wickenburg as an area where our employees would want to work and raise their children,” Wiggins said. “We think we would have an outstanding workforce to draw from within the local and regional area.”
Wiggins said that CCA is taking a two-front approach to the Wickenburg-Forepaugh project: outreach and due-diligence.
He said CCA was continuing to work with local leadership in the education process, regarding what it means to have a corrections facility in the community. Wiggins said CCA was still working with local leaders in determining how to most effectively get its message out to the community.
“We are in the process of creating a partnership with Wickenburg’s local leaders and showing them the quality of our operations,” Wiggins said. “As this happens, the trust and respect of the community can be gained.”
CCA plans to meet with a number of groups during the second week of December. During this time, it will also be looking into how the Forepaugh property can be made available to the corporation, what is needed as far as infrastructure, and what the overall costs will be to build a correctional facility in Forepaugh.