Companies meeting with Adams supervisors on prison plans
Published 7:16 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Adams County supervisors were meeting early this week with competing companies that are considering the county as a possible site for a correctional facility.
Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group Inc. both want the county to approve advertising their proposals, a necessary legal step to locating such a facility in the state.
Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said the companies are going after the same federal contract.
CCA, which manages the Wilkinson County correctional facility, is looking to choose between Adams County and Pike County for a new Mississippi facility, said spokesman Steve Owen.
Whichever company is successful, the facility will likely be low- to medium-risk inmates, Grennell said.
One of the steps toward locating in Adams County is publishing that the company is looking at putting in a facility. By state law, if the citizens put together a petition with a certain number of signatures, the county must hold a vote as to whether or not a facility should be allowed to locate.
“As we assess communities and assess which we’re going to ultimately partner with, having the hurdles out of the way is helpful,” said Owen.
Phone calls to The GEO Group were not returned, according to www.natchezdemocrat.com.
While CCA is deciding between two Mississippi locations, the GEO Group is looking strictly at Adams County for its newest location, Grennell said.
“If CCA is awarded a contract from the federal government, we don’t know which site they’re going to select,” Grennell said. “GEO has totally committed themselves to Adams County.”
CCA has already started geotechnical research of the U.S. 84 land in the northeast part of the county where they’re considering locating, said Walter Brown, an attorney representing the company locally.
Time is of the essence because time limits of the federal contract and the Gulf Opportunity Zone, which provides benefits to business owners in areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“One of the (GO-Zone) requirements is that in order to receive the benefits, you have to have the facility in operation no later than Dec. 31, 2008,” Brown said.
He said that wherever the company does locate, CCA is planning to begin construction in June. In order to file the necessary paperwork, they would have to get the go-ahead from the community soon.
Grennell said that while CCA is thinking of buying private property in the county, GEO is considering buying county land at the county-managed Natchez-Adams County Airport.
Airport Manager Clint Pomeroy said he isn’t too excited at that prospect.
“We’ve been hoping to use it for industrial development of the airport, maybe some aviation facility,” Pomeroy said. “We would love to have that, and there’s potential for that down the way. If it were used for the prison, it wouldn’t be available in the future.”