State Proposes Jan. 1 Closing for Milledgeville Youth Center

10:15 PM, Aug 27, 2009   |    comments
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A state agency wants to close a youth detention center in Milledgeville, costing the city another 400 jobs.

But Milledgeville's state senator today talked a state board into delaying their decision by two weeks.

Sen. Johnny Grant, a Republican, says the closing of the
Bill E. Ireland Youth Development Campus would cost the city almost 400 jobs.

He says that comes on the heels of two prisons' closings, cuts at state colleges and technical schools and layoffs at big Milledgeville employers like Rheem Manufacturing.

"The Milledgeville community has been hit hard by closures," he said.

The state Department of Juvenile Justice board today agreed to delay a decision on a budget they planned to submit to Gov. Sonny Perdue's budget office. Grant said he planned to meet with Perdue next week and ask him to spare Milledgeville.

If the closing is approved, the Ireland YDC would close Jan. 1, Grant said.

Steve Hayes, a spokesman for the state Department of Juvenile Justice, says the Ireland campus is more than 100 years ago and outdated. Youths housed at the 300-bed campus would be moved to other facilities across the state, he said.

The campus is budgeted for 393 jobs, but 81 of them are now vacant, he said.

The state board agreed, by an 8-4 vote, to delay voting on its budget until Sept. 10.

"It's very difficult budgetary times for everybody, but we're doing the best we can for Milledgeville," said Grant.

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