Construction of a new state prison in northwest, Florida is ahead of schedule.
Once complete, the 1500 bed facility in Graceville will employ several hundred residents across the Panhandle and South Alabama.
Now, area business owners believe they're on the ground floor of an economic windfall.
With a September completion date, the Florida Department of Corrections newest facility will be a 1500 bed state prison in Graceville.
It will employ several hundred residents across the Panhandle and South Alabama. Local officials believe it will jumpstart economically depressed Northwest Jackson County.
Graceville City Manager Eugene Adams says, "Graceville has been losing jobs for 20-years. Hopefully, it'll help bring new employment, and it has."
In downtown Graceville, shop owners would like more people moving in, which means more potential customers.
In November, Stephanie Klotzer and her family opened a restaurant in downtown Graceville. Business has been good, but the thought of hundreds of additional jobs coming to the area is exciting. "The community will grow, and will bring new jobs to the area. It’ll help with the overall economy," she says.
Teresa Bush with Bush Paint & Supply said, "We're seeing benefits from it, and we're excited about it here in Graceville."
Graceville’s new state prison will be unique in Florida. A private company and not the State Department of Corrections will operate it.
Job fairs for the new prison in Graceville will be held this summer prior to its opening.