The federal Bureau of Prisons has allocated nearly $54 million to begin opening the Thomson Correctional Center in the northwest part of Illinois.
About $10 million will be used to renovate the maximum-security penitentiary that was a state prison that never fully opened because of budget constraints. The additional $43.7 million will be used for staffing and equipment.
Fully activating the prison that the state sold to the federal government is expected to take two years. The project will cost about $25 million for upgrades and renovations and about $170 million for equipment and staffing.
Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Cheri Bustos announced the funding Thursday.
In a statement, Durbin says it's "a significant investment in the economic future of Northern Illinois."
The federal government in 2012 agreed to buy the facility for $165 million after the sale was held up for nearly three years. The Bureau of Prisons first proposed buying the prison in 2009. At that time, the proposal included using some of the prison for transfers from Guantanamo Bay. That idea was dropped after vocal public opposition.
State officials estimated that annual operation of the facility would generate more than $122 million in operating expenditures, including salaries and $61 million in local business sales.