Most people supportive of possible new prison in Letcher Co.

ROXANA, Ky. (WYMT) - Plans to construct a federal prison in Letcher County are moving forward.

Officials are in the process of narrowing down the possible locations for the new lockup.

Judge Executive Jim Ward said it looks like two choices remain; the communities of Van and Roxana.

The latter is home to Amburgey Grocery Store, which has been operating for 106 years.

The owner, Denny Amburgey, said business has been flagging lately but that a new prison might reverse that trend.

"Some say 'Well you're a business man, you're just looking for more business.' Well, no I'm not," Amburgey said. "The Lord will provide for me regardless. But it would be a tremendous boost for this area."

Ward said around 400 federal jobs would be created.

"It would help the growth of your mom and pop stores," said Keith Adams, the magistrate for district four in Letcher County. "They would be able to grow more and have more to offer and then you might see some other kinds of businesses move in."

An environmental impact study has to be completed before ground is broken for the prison.

"Once that's done, what they have planned at this point from Washington is construction in 2014 and completion in 2018," Ward said.

Dianne Hogg, who lives in the Roxana area, does not like the idea of having inmates for neighbors.

"I do not like it. I live by myself and I would be scared," Hogg said. And also it's going to lower all of our property value and it wont be worth what we could get out of it if that prison comes in."

But Amburgey said it's an investment that would pay off handsomely in the future.

"I want our children to be able to stay here and have jobs and stay in this area and not have to leave this area," he said.

Economics and safety - two issues that define the conversation about a possible new prison in Roxana.

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