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  • mcprison mcprison Mar 30, 2002 2:40 PM Flag

    More on Fed's cancelled RFPs

    March 25, 2002, Monday
    SECTION: Pg. 3

    LENGTH: 439 words

    HEADLINE: Prison agency slams door on Barstow facility: City leaders expected project to be awarded this summer

    BYLINE: Joseph Ascenzi; The Business Press/California


    Barstow officials said they took a major economic hit when the
    U.S. Bureau of Prisons announced March 18 it was abandoning
    plans for a privately owned and operated minimum security prison
    in the city.

    Bureau officials, who had planned to build a similar facility in
    Arizona, cited a reduction in the crime rate among non-U.S.

    Mayor Lawrence E. Dale and Economic Development Coordinator Ron
    Rector said the High Desert community lobbied aggressively for
    the facility, which would have housed about 1,500 inmates, none
    of them United States citizens, who have been convicted of
    crimes. Though not selected as the official site, Barstow was at the top
    of a short list of cities being considered for the facility,
    which would have been built by either Wackenhutt Corrections
    Corp. or Cornell Companies, Inc., which were both bidding on the
    project, Rector said.

    Barstow officials had expected the city's selection to be made
    official this July.

    "I was shell-shocked," Rector said of the bureau's decision,
    which he said ended about five years of negotiations between the
    bureau and the city. "It was a complete surprise."

    Like other private prisons in the Victor Valley, the Barstow
    facility would have brought 250 to 300 jobs and pumped money
    into a region that has had scant economic growth during the past
    three to five years, Dale said.

    "It would have given us a financial boost that we really need,"
    Dale said. "We were looking at bringing 250 jobs to the city.
    The people who would have worked there would have used our
    stores, used our filling stations. It's hard to put a figure on
    something like that, but it would have been a lot [of money in
    the economy]."

    Plans called for the minimum-security facility to be build on a
    vacant site on Lenwood Road near Main Street to house
    non-violent inmates serving the end of their sentences before
    returning to their native countries.

    Rector didn't try to hide his, or the city's disappointment at
    not landing the federal prison.

    The prison's fiscal impact on Barstow and its surrounding
    communities would have been significant, Rector said.
    Construction of the facility would have pumped $ 45 million to
    $ 70 million into the local economy, and operating the facility
    would have put about $ 12 million a year into local coffers,
    Rector said.

    "Federal prisons pay union wages," he said.

    The fiscal impact of the prison ultimately would have depended
    on the size of the facility, how much subcontracting would have
    gone to local firms and how much building material would have
    been bought in Barstow, Rector said.

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