Today, the Michigan Department of Corrections announced that Pugsley Correctional Facility in Kingsley is scheduled to close in September. The low security prison employs 230 people.
State Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) says the loss of 230 jobs is "a huge negative for Grand Traverse County."
He says it’s not only bad news for employees at Pugsley and their families, it’s bad for businesses.
"That’s 230 jobs that support local businesses," says Sen. Schmidt, "and when you’re talking about the villages of Kingsley and Fife Lake, that’s devastating to those communities, and it has a negative impact all the way up to the city of Traverse City."
Sen. Schmidt says this also won't be good for local school districts.
"Because as those families move away," he says, "we’re going to lose students, which means we’re going to lose more [state] funding [for public schools] in northern Michigan."
The MDOC says because Michigan’s prison population has deceased by almost 9,000 in the past decade, they need fewer facilities. They say closing Pugsley will save taxpayers $22 million.
Sen. Schmidt says he’ll ask the MDOC to reconsider closing Pugsley.