A decision by the federal government to acquire a nearly vacant Illinois prison on the Iowa border to house terrorism suspects is expected to create more than 600 jobs for Iowans and generate about $1 billion in economic benefits for the area, reports the Des Moines Register. The prison is along the Mississippi River, 12 miles northeast of Clinton, population 27,000, the major retail hub for the area.
Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, criticized the administration’s plans and said they do not want terrorism suspects moved from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Midwest. Community leaders in Clinton reacted enthusiastically in favor of the plan, saying it would provide a huge economic boon during a difficult recession. They said they are confident any security issues will be addressed. Mike Thomsen, owner of Barber Central in downtown Clinton, said Tiger Woods’ marital problems have been a bigger topic of conversation while he has been giving haircuts in recent weeks. If suicide bombers are looking for a place to attack, it’s doubtful they will head to rural Illlinois or Iowa, he said.