Appleton and its residents are hoping that Prairie Corrections Facility located there can score a major contract to house federal prisoners.
The prison facility closed Feb. 2 laying off nearly 400 employees.
The four-year guaranteed contract could bring 1,200 to 1,400 federal inmates to the Appleton-based prison. The contract would also allow the facility to continue to house prisoners for other states, like Minnesota.
The contract proposal, due Monday, is being sent to the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C.
The reopening of the prison would be a significant development for the Appleton community.
Since the prison's February closing, Appleton has seen:
- A significant private job loss in the community
- The city of Appleton lost tax revenues
- The Appleton school district lost tax revenues
- Appleton businesses have lost a large customer
- City and county entities lost real estate valuation on the prison property
- Public utilities have lost revenue
- Government services have lost revenue and some, like Swift County's solid waste fund, are operating at deficits
- Government and school services demand has increased due to former prison employees and their families having more needs
The prison facility is ready to house prisoners as soon as it can be arranged. The facility is being maintained and has had $6 million in improvements in the past 3½ years.
We wish Appleton the best of luck with its proposed contract. We call on other communities to support Appleton's proposal.
Maintaining the prison facility in Appleton is good for that city, west central Minnesota and the rest of the state.