The town of St. Johnsbury is rallying to save its state prison.
A plan to close the Northeast Vermont Correctional Facility in a budget-cutting move is drawing stiff opposition from local residents, officials and business owners. On Monday, state Rep. Bob South and other lawmakers called for it to remain open, saying its 78 jobs and other economic benefits are crucial to the economy of the Northeast Kingdom.
Gov. Jim Douglas wants to close the prison to help the state cope with a budget gap for fiscal year 2010 that could top $200 million.
The Vermont State Employees Association also is lobbying to keep it open.