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Public hearing next step in fight to keep DCC open

Dwight mayor says he's ready to make the case for the community

Published: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 7:00 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 5:03 p.m. CST

DWIGHT, Ill. — Dwight Mayor Bill Wilkey sees Wednesday night's public hearing about the expected closure of Dwight Correctional Center as an opportunity.

“I’m really looking forward to the public hearing,” Wilkey said. "After many meetings over the past few weeks in preparation for this hearing, I just can’t wait for us to make our case to keep Dwight open.”

The public hearing for the closure of Dwight Correctional Center is set for 4 p.m. this Wednesday, April 4, 2012, at Dwight Township High School, 801 S. Franklin St., Dwight, Ill.

The hearing will consist of several panels of individuals that will testify to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). Those panels will include Senators Cultra and Hutchinson, Representatives Barickman, Roth and Mautino, Mayor Wilkey, the employee union and other local elected officials, business representatives and members of the public.

Director Godinez of the Illinois Department of Corrections is expected to testify at the hearing and answer questions from the commission members.

“I’m sure the commission will ask the right questions of Director Godinez,” Mayor Wilkey said in regard to the appearance by the Director. “There are a lot of questions regarding the IDOC closure report and proposed cost savings, and I’m confident that the commission will get to the bottom of it.”

AFSCME, the union that represents the majority of employees of the Dwight Correctional Center will testify to the validity of the IDOC report and, more specifically, to the IDOC claims that the Dwight Correctional Center is too old and needs imminent repair.

The union is expected to make a presentation to the commission during the hearing.

Mayor Wilkey will speak to the impact the closure will have on the village of Dwight. The impact will be on several aspects, including the local economy, businesses, jobs, health care, municipal funding, school funding, social and emotional impacts.

“It would devastate the village of Dwight and many of the communities around us, including Streator, Pontiac and Kankakee, where many employees reside.” the mayor added. 

The public hearing is expected to have a large turnout of people who support keeping the Dwight Correctional Center open.

The village of Dwight, local officials, unions, surrounding communities and the public have all joined together to save Dwight’s second largest employer, which employs more than 460 men and women.

The impact from the closure of the facility would reach much of central Illinois, including other businesses, health care services and the housing market.

The gymnasium doors will be opened at 3:30 p.m. for public seating.

The hearing will begin promptly at 4 p.m.

The Dwight Police Department will conduct traffic control and assistance at the high school during the hearing.

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