Brushy Mountain tourist attraction expected to open in spring 2016

PETROS (WATE) – One chapter is closing in the history of Brushy Mountain State Prison while another opens. Morgan County wants people behind bars, but it’s for a good reason: economic growth.

“We have a beautiful county and we have a lot to offer as far as tourism and I think this will give us a boost,” said Lisa Rutherford, Morgan County’s executive director of economic development.

A distillery, museum, RV trailer park and restaurant are all in the making to replace the old prison that closed down six years ago in 2009.

The state officially handed over Wednesday afternoon the keys to the old Brushy Mountain State Prison to Morgan County Economic Development board members.

Rutherford says this move is good for the county.

SLIDESHOW: Brushy Mountain

“It’s a good day here in Morgan County,” said Rutherford.

The tourist attraction is expected to open in spring 2016. Rutherford says it will bring more than 100 jobs to the area.

Charles Wilkie lives in Morgan County and he used to work at the prison back in the 1960’s. He’s looking forward to the renovations.

“We’ve been campaigning for this ever since Brushy Pintail, closed and we’ve been trying to find some way to save the prison for the historic value,” said Wilkie.

Morgan County leaders hope this becomes an asset to the community.

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