Coyote Ridge Expansion Helps Local Economy - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Coyote Ridge Expansion Helps Local Economy

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CONNELL, Wash.- Officials broke ground on a massive expansion project at Coyote Ridge Correctional Center in Connell Tuesday.

The new facility will quadruple the number of inmates, and it is expected to pump millions of dollars into the local economy.

The $230 million project brings a medium security facility to Coyote Ridge on top of the current minimum security prison, and 1,793 new beds mean hundreds of new jobs for Franklin County.

Expected to open in 2008, the new prison will house inmates serving no more than a four year sentence, but that's not all.

"There's approximately 500 guards.  I guess I don't know the breakdown if that is all guards, or it that's support people also," said Bob Koch, a Franklin County Commissioner. 

The project is expected to pump an additional $500,000 a year into the tax base during construction, and nearly $150,000 after, a move officials hope will revitalize Connell.

"I think it's going to wake this little community up, and I'm sure that there will be businesses come in because as people move in to work on the construction of the facility they probably will stay," said Neva Corkram, another Franklin County Commissioner.

The expansion means nearly half of Connell's population will be prison inmates, but many aren't worried about the increased danger. In fact, they've been planning for expansion for years, and now it's just all coming together. Companies from around the northwest are also anticipating growth.

"We've had one group out of the Tri-Cities buy land across from Connell High School, for a housing development," said Connell Mayor Gary Walton. 

"We have another gentleman our of Spokane who bought lots, and we're gonna start building some spec homes on that."

Franklin County officials said they hope to continue to work with the Department of Corrections to continue expansion at Coyote Ridge.

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