CUSTER, S.D. — A business partnership in western South Dakota has submitted a winning $2.34 million bid to buy a shuttered juvenile detention facility in Custer, though some lawmakers may push back on the sale.
The bid came during a public auction Thursday for the State Treatment and Rehabilitation Academy, or the STAR Academy, the Rapid City Journal reported . The state-owned facility closed in 2016 after juvenile justice reforms led to a decline in the number of minors being held at the facility.
Jared Carson represented the local partnership with the winning bid and said the group intends to create a “light industrial project.” He declined to provide details about the business venture or other partners, but said the partners hope to bring other businesses to the campus and create jobs.
Some lawmakers attending the auction hinted they would try to block the sale when the Legislature convenes next week for the 2018 session. Watertown Sen. Neal Tapio said the state still needs a facility like the STAR Academy. He said the state has passed the burden of juvenile behavior problems to local governments and schools.
“There are an incredible number of legislators who think the system is broken,” Tapio said. “It’s going to be a matter of talking with them to find out what our next option is.”
However, Tapio and other lawmakers who oppose the sale may face an uphill fight given the Legislature voted last year to auction the facility.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard will need to approve the sale and its terms. Daugaard’s chief of staff, Tony Venhuizen, confirmed the approval could happen by next week.
“He is excited for the new business development and year-round jobs the purchasers plan to create,” Venhuizen said.
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com