Opening the Thomson Correctional Center as a federal prison is expected to be in President Barack Obama's budget request scheduled for release in coming weeks.
Last year the federal government bought the vacant prison from Illinois for $165 million. An estimated $62 million is needed to activate the prison -- $25 million in construction to bring the prison up to federal standards and $37 million for the first six months of operational costs.
Once operational, the prison is projected to have around 1,100 federal workers.
On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, discussed the plan to open the prison Charles Samuels, director of the Department of Justice's Bureau of Prisons.
"Now that the acquisition of Thomson prison is complete, the Department of Justice has begun preparing for its activation and Director Samuels assured us that process is moving forward," said a statement from Sen. Durbin. "When President Obama releases his budget in the next few weeks, it should include funding for prison activation."
Leading Congressional Republicans opposed the federal purchase of the prison that was earmarked three years ago as a possible site for detainees at Guantanamo Bay.The Guantanamo plan was canceled, but opposition to the federal purchase of the remained until the deal was pushed through in October.
Rep. Bustos said she was pleased to hear from Mr. Samuels that progress was being made on opening the prison.
"Thomson prison represents an economic shot in the arm to our region, and I look forward to working with Sen. Durbin over the coming months to make sure this job-creating facility continues to be on track for opening," she said.
Today is Friday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2013. There are 18 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Merry sleigh bells jingle in our streets in the wake of a driving northwest storm of snow and rain. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Thomas Campbell was elected commander of John Buford Post 243, Grand Army of the Republic. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Thomas B. Reidy was named consul of C.W. Hawes Camp No. 1550, and L.H. Eihl was named consul of Camp 29, Modern Woodmen of America. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island aldermen last night upheld the view of a petition signed by 150 businessmen that the city should not install parking meters. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Total volume during the Christmas mailing season may reach 12 million pieces in Rock Island, according to Rock Island Postmaster Carl J.L. Wessel. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The aromas filling the air at the Rock Island Lines depot in Rock Island soon will be prime rib and roast duck rather than sawdust and plaster. A tourist train will be offering dinner excursions in mid-February or early March, according to Dan Carmody, executive director of the Development Association of Rock Island.