Opposition to federal prison organize

Dr. Paul Risk and his wife are stunned Nacogdoches elected officials are supporting the idea of a federal prison in the city.     Proponents say it could bring over 300 good paying jobs. The Risks aren't convinced. They're concerned it will kill an image Nacogdoches has worked so hard to develop.    " Will people consider coming to Nacogdoches, the Oldest Town In Texas or let's all get in the car and go look at the federal prison in Nacogdoches?  Nobody is going to want to move out into that area at all with businesses or residences, " said Risk.

By Donna McCollum

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The proposed site is on Northwest Stallings Drive, down the road from retail development, neighborhoods and churches. Risk said,  " Security is another problem. What if we have an escape.where will they go. Well, there's a neighborhood you can hid in very close to it. There's a mall very close you can run in and just disappear. "  Risk has other concerns including the possibility of nearby property values going down, university enrollment decreasing when parents learn their children are near a federal prison and light pollution.

So far a diverse group is organizing their opposition. Risk said,  " Retirees, people from the university, people who work in the community, family people and so forth, " are considering joining COPS, Citizens Opposed to the Prison Sight.

There are people with mixed emotions and some of them work right next door to the proposed site. Anthony Gross runs a body shop adjacent to the property. He questions a prison's appeal, but also likes the idea of hundreds of potential customers driving by each day. Yet he wonders if built, if the building will always be a low risk prison unit for illegal immigrants as proposed.    " What's gong to happen down the line when the illegal immigrants, that's over with. What are they going to do with the prison. They're not going to build a big facility like that and leave it empty. So to me that's a large concern, " said Gross.

Economic developers have promised the project won't go forward if the community voices a strong opposition. Officials haven't called a public meeting just yet, but when they do the Risks will be ready. They led the first organized meeting Monday night.