Community, lawmakers fired up over Taft Youth Center closing - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Community, lawmakers fired up over Taft Youth Center closing

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(WRCB) – Crowds in Bledsoe County are fired up as community members face off against state leaders over a proposal to close the Taft Youth Development Center.

The closing was brought up during budget hearings last month. If the facility closes, 169 people would be out of a job.

Multiple counties will write resolutions to send to Governor to express opposition to Taft closing.

"Somebody in Nashville made the wrong damn decision," says State Representative Bill Harmon to an eruption of applause.

Harmon says he won't vote for Governor Haslam's budget if Taft Center isn't in it. He says this isn't a Bledsoe County issue, this is a Tennessee issue.

Juveniles convicted of felonies in Chattanooga and across the state are housed at the Taft Center, which has one of the highest rehabilitation records in the South.

"These children can be saved with your help, but you're the last help they have," says one local judge.

State lawmakers are back in session next Tuesday. Area representatives say their top priority is meeting with Governor Haslam to make sure the Taft Center closing isn't part of the budget.

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