Raymondville Working on Permit Approval to Demolish Prison Tents

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RAYMONDVILLE – Prison tents will soon be coming down as the Willacy County prison enters the next phase of its redevelopment.

Management and Training Corporation officials and contractors met with Raymondville officials after an informal inspection on Monday.

Their plan is to move fast in rebuilding the prison campus and bringing in a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Longtime Raymondville resident Carina Vasquez said she wants to see the city’s economy restored. She has seen a lot of its economy evaporate since the 2015 prison shutdown.

Vasquez said she sees it on her job in the restaurant business.

“Usually in the morning, we have our customers. We haven’t been seeing a lot of people from the prison like we used to. We had a certain amount of order they would call in,” she said.

Raymondville city manager Eleazar Garcia said he hopes the reopening of the prison will lead to the rebuilding of their local economy.

“We’re certainly waiting for that to happen. We lost quite a few jobs right after the riot when they did close,” he said.

MTC told CHANNEL 5 NEWS they plan to demolish ten prison tents that were damaged during the February 2015 riots.

Garcia said they will be required to have a permit to take down the structures.  

“They will submit demolition drawings to our code enforcement building inspector and we will forward those to our city engineers to review. And then after that’s all done, permits will be issued,” he explained.

Garcia added the process of obtaining a permit could take around a day. He added the city of Raymondville estimated the change to bring in about 150 to 200 jobs.

MTC spokespersons Issa Arnita said the rebuilding will be based on what contract his company received. CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported how MTC may contract with either the Federal Bureau of Prisons or ICE.

So far, the corporation has not revealed who they plan to contract with.

Raymondville Mayor Gilbert Gonzalez said the prison has until October to reopen. 

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