FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Joint Finance Committee votes to reject Gov. Evers’ proposal for youth detention center in Hortonia

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HORTONIA, Wis. (WFRV) – The Joint Finance Committee has voted to reject Governor Tony Evers’ proposal for a new juvenile correctional facility located in the Town of Hortonia.

In March, Gov. Evers announced that construction had been approved for a youth detention center on state-owned property.

Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement Wednesday, saying, “From the day that Governor Evers and his Department of Corrections abruptly announced that Hortonia will house a Type 1 Serious Juvenile Offender Facility without the prior notification or acknowledgment of local citizens or elected officials, I have tirelessly advocated as a conduit for the constituents in my district to ensure their opposition to this location was heard. I shared the concerns of these residents with members of the Joint Finance Committee, and I applaud them for listening and choosing to vote to reject this site. In doing so, JFC members stood with the over 700 citizens of Hortonia, Hortonville, and the surrounding area who signed a petition in opposition to the construction of the youth prison.”

Sen. Cowles, along with other area legislators, sent a letter to the Joint Finance Committee Co-Chairs asking them to delay their vote until the Department of Corrections improved communication with Hortonia and gained support for the facility.

According to Sen. Cowles, this was not achieved.

“I can’t think of a worse spot to put this facility from several standpoints. Anyone who’s driven down Highway 15 in spring would have witnessed the severity of the flooding on the Wolf River. DOC proposed that this facility should be built right in the floodplain. Additionally, with several endangered or threatened species nearby, wetland concerns, and the unstable foundation for building, this placement was not thought through,” says Sen. Cowles. “To disregard these concerns atop the significant lack of communication with the Town of Hortonia and repeated threats to annex this location by a nearby city, it comes as no surprise that JFC took the correct action to reject this location.”

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