Created: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:17:00 CST
Updated: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 11:53:26 CST
This legislative session, Senator Les Seiler is fighting to repurpose the old Hastings Regional Center to accommodate an overflowing inmate population.
Senator Seilier's priority bill LB 999 would take the 8 million dollars of demolition money for buildings on the property and use them to turn the site into a 250 bed prison facility. The new facility would house prisoners undergoing mental health and substance abuse treatment. And despite some concern from the community, Senator Seiler and Hastings Mayor Vern Powers says it's a good move for Hastings.
Seiler: Our professional staff will be contracted with Mary Lanning and they'll gear up their staff to be able to accommodate both and then you've got all the guards and laundry and food and all the other support staff that would be workers here.
Powers: The salary rate of the lower employees would be pretty large and you go up to psychiatric doctors and stuff, it's a very large salary base. Hastings understands this issue. We've had it since the 1880s, we understand what this is. We're comfortable with it. It's a good thing for Hastings.
Hastings City Council members have already shown their support for the bill.