In an effort to bring economic development to Southern Illinois, State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) filed legislation to begin the process of transferring property ownership of the Hardin County Work Camp to Hardin County on September 21.
“The Hardin County Work Camp closure was a devastating setback in the region, eliminating critical jobs in the area and contributing to the economic drain in the region,” said Senator Fowler. “This legislation is the first step in repairing the damage done by the closure of this facility and bringing economic opportunity to Hardin County and the surrounding areas.”
Senate Bill 3634 would allow the Illinois Department of Corrections to sell the Hardin County Work Camp property to Hardin County for $1. In turn, Hardin County can use the property for public purposes, including the creation of a detention center.
“The aim of this legislation is to empower Hardin County, placing the property in their control as local officials continue to seek out the funding needed to reopen the facility,” said Senator Fowler. “I know the creation of a detention center can be a significant job creator and economic driver in Southern Illinois, and I’m excited to sponsor legislation that will help pave the way for this project.”
The Hardin County Sheriff’s Department recently announced their intentions to reopen the Work Camp, with the prospect of housing 100 inmates and creating upwards of 40 new jobs in the area.
“The reality is this facility has remained empty for too long,” said Senator Fowler. “The potential is there and it is time that we utilize the Work Camp to generate revenue, create jobs and benefit the region.”
Senator Fowler is hopeful that Senate Bill 3634 will see movement when the General Assembly reconvenes for scheduled Veto Session in November.