Update on the fight to re-open the Ojibway Correctional Facility

Courtesy: Michigan Dept. of Corrections

MARENISCO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - The Ojibway Correctional Facility closed in December, but the Marenisco Township building could soon have new life. There is a possibility it could re-open, as a training facility.

Before the State Legislature closed their session for the summer, Representative Greg Markkanen, (R)-100th District, was able to secure an amendment to the Corrections Appropriations Bill. That amendment adds the Ojibway Correctional Facility to a shortlist of three potential sites for a future M.D.O.C. training facility.

"It'd be good to utilize a state facility like that, it would allow the Upper Peninsula to train some of the finest department of corrections guards," said Markkanen.

Marenisco Township has had an open lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections since last October regarding the closure of the prison. It was dismissed in December and appealed shortly after. They've had no update since filing that appeal.

"I hope that the Court of Appeals takes a very hard look at it and gives it some serious consideration," said Markkanen.

Until they have a response from the board of appeals, a training facility is their plan b.

The hope from those involved is that by reopening the prison as a training facility, they'll be able to add not only a boost to the local economy, but new jobs as well.

"It certainly wouldn't be the same as the prison, the prison employed over 200 people,” said Marenisco Township Supervisor Richard Bouvette. “I highly doubt that this would come anywhere near that. We’re not going to gain anything from a tax base, but if we can get two people employed out there that would be good. It’s better than what we have now."

Marenisco Township is anxious for a decision, and Representative Markkanen is hopeful it will come soon.

"The governor and the house and senate need to finalize the budget plan, and then probably this fall when we go back into session, things will start getting ironed out," said Markkanen.

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