ELKHART, Ind. — A prison management company met with county business leaders and media outlets in northern Indiana to discuss a proposed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility.
Details of the proposed $100 million ICE facility were disclosed Wednesday by six representatives from CoreCivic, a private prison company previously known as Corrections Corporation of America. The 1,200-bed detention center would be located about 10 miles (16.1 kilometers) east of South Bend in Elkhart County.
CoreCivic spokesman Steve Owen said they chose the area because it met their criteria regarding community impact and property development.
CoreCivic chief development officer, Tony Grande, said that company has operated their Marion County facility since 1997 and is familiar with the regulatory environment in Indiana.
“It might seem indiscriminate that we landed on Elkhart County when there are other sites to consider, but you start to put in all these requirements, the geography that ICE put around it, the land, the property itself, what kind of neighborhood is it in, and then you have considerations like utilities, road infrastructure and everything else,” Grande said. “So you start with what would otherwise seem like all these options, but once you start layering in all these requirements, you kind of come down to a smaller universe of possibilities.”
The center faces opposition from nearby communities. Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman released a statement opposing the facility on Thursday.
“There are just so many people in Goshen and Elkhart County that are concerned about this,” Stutsman said. “I’m glad everyone’s willing to speak out about their concerns.”
The Elkhart County Plan Commission will vote on the company’s rezoning request on Feb. 8.