THOMSON (WIFR) – A federal agency is starting to hire a handful of workers for the Thomson prison, a facility that’s been virtually empty for more than a decade.
“I’m more positive and optimistic about the prison finally opening here.”
This maximum security prison might finally house thousands of criminals within the next two years. The federal bureau of prisons just started hiring for several positions on the USA.gov website, a small step in re-opening a facility that’s sat empty for 13 years.
Not only will that lower the unemployment rate, some business owners say it will also help their bottom line.
“I expect that if the prison does finally open and if it hires hundreds of people that we could see more business here, more customers here with people driving by every day.”
Some of the jobs include an IT specialist and correctional supervisor. These job postings come just a month after the federal government committed $53 million to pen the massive facility.
That money will go towards renovations, equipment, and staffing. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has been fighting for Thomson’s reopening, saying in a statement, “the opening of Thomson Prison will not only alleviate the overcrowding of our prison system, but it will create over a thousand local jobs and be an economic shot in the arm to a region that continues to struggle with high unemployment.”
“I think it’s a good thing for Thomson and the surrounding areas.”
Although some people say the job postings are a good sign, it’s up to congress to sign off on the 2014 spending plan to fund the project.
I spoke with the president of Thomson’s Chamber of Commerce. He tells me it’s still too early to tell how much of an economic impact reopening the prison would have.
Renovations haven’t started yet. It’s expected to take two years to open the prison, which would cost almost $200 million.