MCNEIL ISLAND, Wash. -- State and federal officials are working on a plan to settle the long-running dilemma of what to do with the closed McNeil Island Corrections Center.
Washington is working on a contract to appraise 85 acres of property, including the former prison, with the potential of buying it from the federal government.
We are in the middle of the procurement process, said Ann Sweeney from the Department of Enterprise Services.
Washington's Department of Corrections closed the prison in 2011. The facility has been relatively unmaintained ever since, while inmates with Correctional Industries have handled upkeep on other parts of the island. That work is required to satisfy requirements of Washington's lease of the island from U.S.
The Department of Health and Human Services runs the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island for sexually violent predators, which is not part of any potential sale.
We're at the point of curiosity of what that appraisal would bring back, said Jeannie Miller from Correctional Industries. It's extremely important for us to maintain those areas.
It is unclear what the land could be used for. Sweeney indicated purchasing the property would allow the state more flexibility and input on McNeil Island's future. Given the state of the prison, it is unlikely the building could again be used for corrections.
We're always asked about the historical aspect of it, commented Miller when asked about the prison. The piece that comes up quite often is 'can we film within the institution.'
By law, the island can only be used for correctional and wildlife purposes.