YDC may shut down - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

YDC may shut down

November 7, 2003

Pelham - It's only a recommendation, but the idea of closing the Pelham Youth Development Center worries employees and city leaders. Agencies around the state are feeling the budget cut pinch, but to a small town, a hundred or more jobs disappearing would be a major loss.

Pelham's economy has been hit hard this year. City Manager Jimmy Davis says, "In this day in the economy there's ups and downs, but we just have to keep on working."

In August, the Fred's shopping center was set on fire and a juvenile is accused. Eighty jobs up in flames. Now, the place where juveniles go may disappear too. Davis adds, "The staff has been here, they are local people and we'd hate to see them lose those jobs."

Representative Richard Royal recently sent a letter to Pelham City officials. It states, "In the revised 2005 budget, the Department of Juvenile Justice offered to close the Pelham YDC as part of its budget reduction." He added, "Rest assured that I will put forth every effort to prevent the closing of the Pelham YDC." Davis says, "There's still need for the operation so we're hoping the Governor [does] not take their recommendation."

The youth detention center is one of the two largest employers in Pelham. If they decide to shut its gate, more than a hundred people will lose their job. Davis says, "Jobs are real scarce and the other thing we'd lose a good customer because of the amount of natural gas they use."

Darwood Manufacturing Company closed in May, 180 people laid off. Part of that building now has a new tenant, but still not as many employees.

There's still hope around town, Fred's is re-building and the Hand Trading Company will be renovated, eventually adding more jobs. As for the YDC, employees will not find out if they have a job until the Spring.

Despite the proposal to shut down the Pelham YDC, a Department of Juvenile Justice spokesperson says a brand new YDC is opening up in January in Cordele.

posted at 5:45PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com

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