State invests $22M for Youth Detention Center in Cadwell

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CADWELL, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Big change is coming to a small town in southeast Laurens County. State legislators announced Georgia will invest $22 million dollars into a regional youth detention center in Cadwell.

“That’s a big boost for a small community,” said State Sen. Larry Walker. The center will replace a similar building for adults that closed down almost a decade ago.

“It’s great to see that re-purposed,” he added. It was a closing that caused the town to lose 100 local jobs and devastated its economy.

Walker told 41NBC he heard about a shortage of space in youth detention centers from 8th District Circuit Court Judge Donald Gillis, and began working on a solution.

“He was having challenges with sentencing of young people because there wasn’t enough bed space,” he said.

The youth center would not only add bed space, but also more work opportunities. Cadwell has a population of approximately 329 people, so creation of nearly 80 jobs means a significant impact for people in the area.

“I think Cadwell is a great choice.There’s a lot of great opportunities there, and this is investment in Laurens county so anytime we can create jobs especially 80 new jobs that’s exciting for our community,” said Laurens County Chamber of Commerce president Heath Taylor.

Taylor belives it will be a new chance for growth in the rural community.

Walker said their plans for the 56 bed space will start with helping youth in the facility be job ready upon their release.

Once the budget is passed, they hope to begin plans on construction by early 2018.