Turner Co. petitions for detention center - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Turner Co. petitions for detention center

February 11, 2005

Sycamore- The Turner County Probation Detention Center was built to relieve overcrowding at the state's correctional facilities, but a year after construction it still remains empty.

"I'll talk to somebody in Atlanta and they say it's going to be open this year, and then I'll get another story it's going to open in 2007, then it's going to open in 2006. The last word I got is it's going to open in 2007," says Sycamore Mayor Wayne Woodruff.

Woodruff says he's tired of getting the run around. The city used it's own resources to install the infrastructure for the center and even borrowed more than $294,000 from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority for the project. It's money they'll soon have to start paying back.

"The unemployment rate is pretty high in Turner County and we need the 65 jobs that this facility is going to produce," says Woodruff.

Now, the mayor of Sycamore is asking that all residents of Turner County sign a petition requesting that the state make funds available to open the center by the end of the year.

In about a week's time nearly 400 people have signed the petition at Sycamore's city hall. That doesn't include petitions located in Ashburn and at the Turner County commission office.

"Why the money hasn't been appropriated already I have no idea, but from stories I keep getting it's keeps getting cut from the budget, and we don't want it cut from the budget," Woodruff says.

Woodruff says the state spent at least $3.5 million constructing the facility and it's just one of 6 others that are sitting empty across the state.

The mayor says he'll send a copy of the petitions to both Governor Sonny Perdue and Lt. Governor Mark Taylor. He says with the governor's election coming up in 2006 he's hoping at least one of them will work to get the detention center open this year.

Posted at 6:45 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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