Florence optimistic for reuse of prison property

By Mark Cowling | Florence Reminder Blade Tribune

FLORENCE — The closing of Arizona State Prison-Florence Complex, which first looked like a major setback for Florence, is beginning to look more like an opportunity, Town Manager Brent Billingsley said.

After the initial surprise of Gov. Doug Ducey’s announcement in early 2020, “we immediately reached out and had good communication with the director of state prisons (David Shinn) and his staff, and have quite honestly built an excellent relationship with both the director and the staff,” Billingsley said in a year-end interview with the Florence Reminder & Blade-Tribune.

“We know this (prison closure) will definitely have an impact on the finances of the town. We’re not exactly sure what that will be going forward because of the many changes that may occur over the next several years. But we’re convinced that, through our partnerships and our ongoing conversations with the state, we’re going to have a successful transition” to a redevelopment of the prison property.

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