A few hundred jobs are coming to the area, all because of a new Florida State Prison. It will be located in Graceville and will house 1,500 inmates.
Work crews have already broken ground and are hard at work to build the new facility. The Mayor Charles Holman says that it's an aspiration that Graceville has had for a long time.
Eugene Adams recalls dove hunting in a field just a few months ago. It's a dirt field being developed into a state prison that will cost more than $70 million to build. Mayor Holman says that it's something the town desperately needs.
“You know, Graceville, we don't have a lot of tourists here. We don't have a military installation or anything. So you know, we're off the Interstate. So we try to get anything we can to provide jobs,” said Mayor Holman
Graceville officials have approached the state several times over the past 12 years. It took a lot of dedication and incentive to pursue the state to build in the north Florida town.
Mayor Holman said, “West Florida Electric Co-Op along with the Jackson County Commission bought 300 acres with an interest-free loan and so it was West Florida with the City of Graceville and the Jackson County Commission with 300 acres. It was for our industrial park. So we told the state, 'Hey, we want you here.' Down South, the prisons, they're not building too many down there because of tourism I guess. But we want them up here. The Correction Institution they're good neighbors and Graceville will be good neighbors too"
An infrastructure was laid down a few years ago to support the expected growth. Currently, the construction phase gives an estimated five hundred temporary jobs and the new prison is expected to bring in three hundred or more.
The project is slated to be complete by next fall.
The new prison will be located at the intersection of Cloverdale and Ezell Roads in the Graceville industrial park.