The Bureau of Prisons has approved a record of decision to place a federal prison in Letcher County.
“It is certainly a Good Friday in Eastern Kentucky! I’m thrilled to announce that we have reached a major milestone toward construction of the Letcher County Prison,” US Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers said Friday. “U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called me today to inform me that the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has signed a Record of Decision (ROD), paving the way for construction of a new facility in Letcher County.”
The decision was announced late this afternoon.
Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward said the decision is “the best news we’ve had in a long time as far as our economy goes. It’s going to be a big shot in the arm for us.”
The prison, which will be built at Roxana, will create 300-400 permanent jobs and 1,000-1,500 construction jobs for four to five years, Ward said.
He said the next thing needed is training for local businesses to be able to do business with the federal government.
Area business leaders joined together more than 13 years ago to form the Letcher County Planning Commission to work on improving the county.
In 2005, the commission spoke to the Bureau of Prisons for the first time, and representatives of the agency came to the county for the first time in 2006.
Elwood Cornett, co-chair of the Planning Commission, said he hardly knew how to express his feelings.
“I’m very pleased. It took a lot of patience, but it paid off,” he said. “I think it’ll be a good thing for Letcher County.”