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6:27 PM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Prison proposal: CCA won't resume interest in Fain property

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) will not resume interest in a potential prison site here in response to an announcement by Bill and Brad Fain that they will continue to consider a private prison for their land.

"At this point in time it does not change where CCA is," spokeswoman Louise Grant said Monday. She said the time frame to continue consideration of the site off Fain Road is too tight with the upcoming release of requests for proposals to solicit the private sector to operate prisons in Arizona.

The state Department of Corrections is seeking private companies to house as many as 5,000 inmates in new or existing prisons. CCA, which owns six prisons in Pinal County, also has studied sites in Winslow and west of Wickenberg.

"We are looking at all options. We are still looking throughout the state," said Grant, who is based in Nashville, Tenn.

CCA's senior director for site acquisition, Brad Wiggins, notified Gary Marks, executive director of the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation, in a letter dated Feb. 5 that the company was withdrawing consideration from the Fain property. Grant said afterward that opposition from a majority of the Town Council prompted CCA's decision.

Brad Fain of the Fain Signature Group and Fain Land and Cattle Co. acknowledged Thursday evening that renewed interest from CCA was unlikely, adding he received a copy of the letter from Wiggins.

He and his father, Bill, announced during the public comment period of the council meeting Thursday that they would seek to annex the proposed prison site to the town and rezone it. The family owns 881 acres of grazing land that it has planned for more than three years for an industrial park.

"We are working with our team, our zoning and annexation team," Brad Fain said after the meeting.

He and his father said they would welcome a public vote on whether to locate a prison on their land.

The public process for the prison appeared to have died Jan. 28 when three members of the council expressed opposition to the prison, citing phone calls and e-mails from constituents.

Mayor Harvey Skoog, who went on record against the prison Jan. 27, said he does not know whether any other prison companies are expressing interest in Prescott Valley.

Pablo Paez, director of corporate relations for The GEO Group in Boca Raton, Fla., declined in an e-mail to state whether his company is considering the tri-city area for a proposed prison. GEO operates three prisons in Arizona.

Marks could not be reached for comment.