State, local officials confer on new supervision center

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Business Today

KENNETT -- In October city officials received word the city had been selected as the site of one of seven Department of Corrections Community Supervision Centers being built in Missouri.

A team headed by Paul Caspari, assistant division director, community corrections, with the Department of Corrections was recently in Kennett for a meeting with local officials.

The meeting was attended by several Department of Corrections and Office of Administration officials from Jefferson City, state Rep. Otto Bean Jr., R-Holcomb, Jan McElwrath, executive director of the Kennett Chamber of Commerce, and Melissa Hardin, supervisor of the Probation and Parole office in Kennett.

The 30-bed facility is to be built on a five-acre tract off the North By-Pass, west of Bradshaw Funeral Home. The land for the project is being donated by Dennis Allen and John Beaton

"We're anticipating bids for construction can be let by mid-summer and it will take until the middle of the following summer (2006) to complete," Caspari said.

While seven centers are currently on the drawing board, Caspari said he envisions a total of 17 across the state in the future.

An environmental impact assessment has been completed on the property, said Jim Weber of the Office of Administration's Division of Design and Construction.

"There were no findings of significant environmental impact, other than it's prime farmland," he said. "We have federal approval to go forward."

The state officials suggested the city obtain title to the property, and if it has not already done so, annex it into the city.

Hardin said her office currently employs 13 people. When the center is opened, this number will be boosted by another 23 people. There are now 750 people under supervision of the district office in Kennett. With the opening of the center, this may increase to more than 1,000.

The center is intended to serve non-violent offenders already living in the Dunklin County area. The facility will be used for individuals in need of short-term housing or in need of intensive counseling in a residential-type surrounding.

Caspari estimated the center will have an annual payroll of about $650,000 with another $350,000 being spent for its operating budget, much of that locally.

The cost of building the supervisory center is covered by a federal grant to the state. The only cost to the city is extension of paving the street, constructing sewers and extension of utilities.

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