The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

January 15, 2014

Funding for activation set

(Continued)

There is still speculation as to whether the bill will pass, but the possibility has some local officials feeling positive that at least the conversation is moving forward.

"There are a number of developments that have been pending activity of the prison," Fulton Mayor Larry Russell said. "So this progress is good news for the real-estate turnaround, those developments and, of course, our schools."

If the massive spending bill is passed, it could mean major economic gain for Thomson and surrounding municipalities like Fulton and Clinton, which have relied heavily on its pending activation since 2001, when the prison was built.

Lack of funding opportunities however, have delayed that process time and time again, and it wasn't until the federal government purchased the facility from the state of Illinois in 2012 that city officials began to feel confidence once more.

But since that purchase, little has been done to activate the prison, causing speculation to again surface.

"It's about every 12 to 18 months that they have a little blurb about activating the prison," Vulich said. "But this is the first positive comment that we have seen money being talked about so at least it's in some bill that's going to be voted on."

Despite that speculation, city leaders are feeling "cautiously optimistic" and are holding onto hope that this time around the spending bill will be approved, and the Thomson prison will finally be activated.

"When and if that happens, we hope sooner rather than later, the village will immediately see more activity." Trager said. "I'm happy, I'm encouraged and I continue to be positive. That's really all we can do at this point."

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