WHITESBURG, Ky (WYMT) - It's been talked about for years, and although not set in stone, Judge Executive Jim Ward says plans are still underway to bring a federal prison to Letcher County.
Monday U.S. Representative Hal Rogers announced the Federal Bureau of Prisons awarded a third party to contract to perform an environmental impact study on two sites in Letcher County.
"Our unemployment rates are skyrocketing right now, and that is 400 federal jobs. That's good benefits, and to be able to bring that money into the county," said Ward.
Letcher County has been working on this project for years, but not much has been said about it recently until now.
"That's a big step for us. It had kind of stalled out a little bit because of the federal budget, but we are starting to see movement again. And that's really good for Letcher County," said Ward.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons will begin an environmental impact study on two potential sites, one in Roxana and the other in Payne Gap.
"To our knowledge, anytime there has been an environmental impact test done there has been a federal prison there," said Ward.
He hopes construction will begin by the end of 2014 or early 2015.
He says most salaries will be around $40,000 with federal benefits.