Friday, Oct. 15, 2004
Detention Center battle continues
By LINDSAY BIANCHI
The bulldozers are back and the neighbors are not happy. The Department of Corrections has resumed work on the expansion of the J.C. Larmore Detention Center located next to the Valley Lakes community near Union City.
We are being held hostage by the State of Georgia and the Department of Corrections. stated AnJeanne James, a resident of Valley Lakes who has been trying to rally her fellow citizens to stop the plans to house 600 more probationary prisoners at the minimum security sight.
Along with Eric Morton, another local resident, James has collected 2,500 signatures protesting the center.
Our pleas are being ignored. James added.
The Department of Corrections plans to alleviate overcrowding of metro-Atlanta jails fell on the shoulders of South Fulton County, leaving the rest of the areas surrounding the area free and clear of any further correctional expansion. Although alternate sites were discussed back in early June, along with federal funding to move the project, James said the Department of Corrections had no intention of following through with the suggestions.
The creation of a Community Relations Board in September is the latest attempt to put the endangered communities on the path to peace of mind. There is a lot of anxiety. James said. Our American dream is gone.
The Detention Center could be finished as soon as September of 2005 if construction is not halted. Senator Kasim Reed and Congressman David Scott have both testified on the communitys behalf. Union City Mayor Ralph Moore has also tried to make his voice heard, but as yet, Governor Perdue has not met with the Mayor.
Governor Perdue could stop this with a stroke of his pen. Eric Morton pointed out. The bottom line is this is still about dollars and cents.
Homeowners are angry, claiming that they were not notified correctly about the expansion. For sale signs are going up in their yards, some just to draw attention to their dilemma. The new building and surrounding grounds is less than 500 feet from Valley Lakes closest property line.
The facilities plans to expand their operation began back in 1994 under Governor Barnes. Originally targeted as part of the juvenile system, the designs have changed to accommodate older offenders. Nobody wants to help us stop it. James proclaims. If it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone.
Copyright 2004-Fayette Publishing, Inc.