Macon County Chronicle

Prison comes to Trousdale

The construction of a 2,040 bed, medium security prison in Trousdale County will provide approximately 300 temporary jobs in skilled trades and general labor this summer.

The announcement by CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) last Friday, February 29, that construction on the prison would begin this summer came after a year of negotiations with Trousdale County and Four Lakes Regional Industrial Authority.

The prison, which will be called the Trousdale County Correctional Center, will be built on 106 acres in the Four Lake Regional Industrial Development Authority’s PowerCom Industrial Park, which is located at the old Hartsville Nuclear Plant site. CCA purchased the land from Four Lake for $350,000.

John Ferguson, President and CEO of CCA, was joined by several state and local officials on the steps of the Trousdale County Courthouse, including Senator Mae Beavers, Representative Stratton Bone, Commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development Matt Kisber, chair of Four Lake’s Executive Committee and Smith County Mayor Michael Nesbitt, and Trousdale County Mayor and Four Lake board member Jerry Clift.

Construction will begin this summer, Ferguson announced, and is expected to be completed in mid-2009. Cost of the project is estimated at $143,000,000, which includes the building of new structures and the enhancement of existing facilities to support the prison; including a new water and waste water facility that will serve all of Trousdale County.

“Taxpayers will not be out any money to help pay for the new water plant,” Clift said.
When completed, the prison will employ about 350 workers full time, including positions in security, facility management, accounting, nursing, human resources, business management, quality assurance, and education. Ferguson anticipates 85% of the jobs will be filled from the Hartsville/Trousdale County community, with beginning salaries expected to be around $25,000 a year, full benefits, and retirement plans.

“The employment will help us all,” said Nesbitt. “Macon, Sumner, Wilson, Smith, and Trousdale counties are all part of Four Lake, and we’ll all benefit.”

Trousdale County will benefit not only from the new water and waste water facilities, but from the estimated yearly $1.5 million in property taxes and $1.8 million in utility payments.

“Personally, I think other things will come because of CCA,” said Bone. “I think Trousdale County will probably get a hotel. I think it’ll help the restaurants here, the gas stations, the grocery stores.”
“We’re grateful to CCA,” Beavers said. “The jobs are badly needed, and CCA will contribute a lot to the economy of this community.”

CCA, which comes recommended as a good partner by other counties where CCA facilities exist, is the nation’s largest owner and operator of private correctional detention facilities, owning 41 of the 65 facilities they operate.

In Tennessee, the company currently houses 8,000 prisoners in seven facilities, including facilities in Hardeman and Davidson Counties, Memphis, Chattanooga, Clifton, Mason, and Whiteville.