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NYS Exposed: Taxpayers funding a prison that has been sitting empty for years

December 03, 2018 06:33 AM

The state could finally have plans for a Wayne County prison that's been sitting empty for years.

The former Butler Correctional Facility used to have more than a hundred people working at it while the 196 acre housed minimum and medium security prisoners.

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News10NBC has learned that plans for the facility have changed.

Since closing in 2014, the former prison has sat vacant, costing state taxpayers $300,000 to maintain each year.

This summer, it appeared there was a reason for optimism. 

After four years of nothing, Empire State Development, the agency in charge of the project, finally issued a request for proposals. 

That's the process that would allow the facility to be sold to a private owner, someone that could re-develop the former prison.

The Town of Wolcott Supervisor, Lynn Chatfield told News10NBC, "people in the area would like to see something go back in there for they don't care what, they just don't like seeing that facility sit there empty and deteriorating." 

At the time, Empire State Development told News10NBC they had a couple inquiries from what they call serious contenders. 

"We've got a couple of inquiries from people that we think would be serious contenders,” said Holly Leicht of Empire State Development. “So, at this point, it's not a massive pool, but enough serious interest that we felt like it's worth testing the market and seeing what is out there." 

News10NBC has learned that the request for proposals has been canceled and not a single buyer came forward.

In a statement, Empire State Development says they've "requested that New York State's Office of General Services schedule an auction for the property in 2019."  

The state is currently auctioning off a former state prison in Franklin County.

However, the first auction for that property was unsuccessful.

"People in the area would like to see something go back in there for they don't care what, they just don't like seeing that facility sit there empty and deteriorating," said Supervisor Chatfield.

The State's Office of General Services hasn't announced any information yet on when that auction may occur.

News10NBC will continue to track this story.

Credits

Brett Davidsen

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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