Tamms prison closure begins to impact the community

TAMMS, IL (KFVS) - The final prisoner was transferred out of the Tamms Correctional Center at the end of December. And now just over two months later the loss of the prison, and prisoners is beginning to ripple throughout the Tamms community.

At the Butcher Block, the phones are still ringing occasionally from someone ordering a pizza to go.

"I still get a few people that used to work out there," said Sunny Spraggs. "Even though they're gone to other places to work now. I still get a few. But basically it's pretty much the same, it hasn't dropped a whole lot."

The city's coffers though are seeing a drop in their revenue.

"We have seen a significant drop in the water that we used to sell to the prison," said Tamms Mayor Lamar Houston. "We've lost ninety percent. And we've lost about twenty percent on our electric revenue. So it's just starting to show up."

Some business owners, which there are only a handful in Tamms even thought about throwing in the towel.

"It did slow down quite a bit," said Beverly Miller owner of Bev's Bargain Barn. "Since then I have had to open up a tanning saloon to make up the difference in the income. I actually thought about closing for a short time. But the tanning saloon boosted it a little."

So far there aren't many homes for sale around town. But, the state's move to pull out the prisoners and shut down the facility did take a toll on the town's population.

They've gone from 1,200 residents down to 700 on the city's census.

"That's going to have a negative affect on our federal funds," said Mayor Houston. "Just how much we're still not sure. So we're going to have to look at our budget and see where we can make some adjustments."

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