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Thomson Prison Economic Impact

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Once the federal prison in Thomson is up and running, Clinton is expected to see a 20% boost to it's economy. Local leaders say this could be what turns the town around. "This increase in population is going to be great for our area and being able to solicit new businesses and add to businesses," says Julie Allesee, President of the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Being the retail hub of the region, Clinton has a lot to gain financially. The thousands of people projected to move and visit the area will need places to shop and stay. "All of retail sales will go up, our tax base will go up for this. We intend to make housing available to some of the folks that will want to come and live here," adds Allesee.

With Clinton's population declining for the past 20-years, people moving in will be a big part of the equation. Since so many people will need housing, it could help revitalize downtown. "Potentially getting loft apartments and housing down here to drive retail to downtown and the amenities that affords," according to Steven Ames, President and CEO of the Clinton Regional Development Corp.

A bigger population that has higher salaries is the chance to develop more expensive housing. "If you're putting jobs in that are 80-90 thousand that means a person could afford a house in the 200-thousand dollar range. And that's an area we have to take a good look at," adds Allesee.

Shopping and having a place to live are not all Clinton stands to gain. Schools are also expected to see their enrollment rise. According to Dr. Richard Basden, Superintendent of Clinton Schools, "Having individuals consider the Clinton area is an exciting possibility."

Since Clinton is the largest community in the Thomson region, it's school offer more extracurricular activities. And the more enrollment expands, the more schools will offer students. "As we have more students that lets us broaden our offerings. And as our high school is about 1200 and that would let us broaden and maintain and expand our offerings as we would have more students," says Basden.

It isn't just Clinton and Carroll counties that will benefit. The Federal Bureau of Prisons saying all surrounding counties, including Whiteside, Jo Daviess and Jackson will see a boost to their economies.