A week of major decisions and announcements in Littlefield, from its vacant prison to its police department.
Littlefield City Council set to vote Tuesday on a lease agreement with a tenant for its empty detention center, vacant since 2009. The deal can be finalized now that Correct Care Recovery Solutions has been awarded a contract through the Texas Civil Commitment Center. The company is already holding job fairs as it anticipates the green light from council. The facility could bring up to 90 jobs to Littlefield. Littlefield city manager Mike Arismendez said the city already pre-negotiated a lease with Correct Care Recovery Solutions.
"We have a lot at stake right now," Arismendez explained. "With the jobs that we're looking at this particular facility creating, we'll be able to offset some of the job loss that we've had in January with the denim mill. We're hoping that this will be able to be a great boost into the economy, great boost into the city. Individuals are sitting and waiting for this facility to open because they want to live in Littlefield and work in Littlefield."
Beginning September first, the company will run a secure residential treatment program for sex offenders who have completed their sentence but arenot eligible for unsupervised release. Littlefield residents have mixed opinions on the change.
"They will be confined in the facility in the center but they'll also receive treatment because of the mental health issue that they have concerning the reason they're incarcerated," Arismendez said.
"Bringing a whole bunch of sex offenders here would just not be a good idea at all," Littlefield resident Megan Mauldin said. "No, I just don't think it's a good idea at all."
"It's okay, you know, it will bring more jobs to Littlefield and that's kind of what we need because this town is dying pretty quick," Littlefield resident Isaac Perez said.
"It's not really safe for some of the people because if people aren't watching them, they could do it to them, too," Littlefield resident Noah Spoon expressed. "They should just try to figure out another way to deal with what they're doing."
Arismendez said there will be another major announcement Thursday about the city's police department.
"I've selected a new chief of police. His name is Albert Garcia. He's the chief of police for the City of Idalou scheduled to begin date August the 17th with us," the city manager said. "This facility is within the city of Littlefield. Any response that would be going out there concerning the facility would go out to the Littlefield Police Department."
Arismendez is confident in Garcia's ability to handle the new facility. He is also hopeful that the deal goes through and brings a much-needed economic boost to Littlefield. He is prepared, however, if city council votes down the contract.
"Worst case scenario is where we're at right now. We have not progressed any forward but we can't go any further back," Arismendez said.