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Talks to Bring a Privately Run Prison to Milo Resume 

The town of Milo prides itself on being a friendly town, but according to Town Manager Jeff Gahagan the past few years haven’t been easy.In 2008 a fire destroyed a large part of the downtown area and multiple businesses have been forced to close their doors because of the economy leaving the town with a double digit unemployment rate.”The town of Milo and Piscataquis County and the state of Maine needs jobs and they need businesses that are going to come in and pay taxes and help with the infrastructure and all those kinds of things that keep the state running,” Gahagan said.Gahagan says the town has renewed conversation with the group, Corrections Corporation of America to build a new prison that will bring jobs to the area.The group is attracted to a 154 acre industrial park on Route 11.”We have faith in C.C.A. and what they’re doing and we just feel that this is a good economic opportunity to pursue.”According to Gahagan it’s a economic possibility Governor Paul LePage says he’s open to.Gahagan says the multi-million dollar facility would bring about 2 to 3 hundred high paying jobs to the area…the jobs would include prison guards, cooks and nurses. State Senator Doug Thomas submitted the bill to Augusta…it would become the first privately run prison in the state. Thomas believes it’s what Maine needs.”We desperately need jobs, the unemployment rate is high in Milo, we do have some opportunity but the underployment in Milo how many 18 dollar jobs are there in all of Piscataquis County? Very few, not enough that’s for sure,” Thomas said.Resident Bob Pelletier has lived in Milo for seven years and says he would like to see his town grow.”We like the small town environment but we need growth, everybody has to grow,” He said.Gahagan says the facility could house more than 2-thousand inmates including ones from the Charleston correctional facility.While some residents may oppose the idea of bringing a prison to their town, Senator Thomas says this isn’t about crime, it’s about jobs.”It has nothing to do with crime,” He said on Wednesday. “I think it has to do with a good work force and a location where they can make a secure environment to house these inmates.”