DANDRIDGE (WATE) – The town of Dandridge is pushing back against a plan to change Mountain View Youth Development Center. Those changes include putting the facility in private hands, dividing it into higher security and lower security portions, as well as removing parts of the fence.
Dandridge’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted Tuesday night to pass a resolution regarding Mountain View, which requests existing security measures be maintained and that a state contractor operating the facility pay to offset property tax revenue lost by the town and Jefferson County.
The juvenile facility is at the bottom of a hill, just a few hundred feet away from Dinah Kidd-Kolyvas’ home.
“It makes me uneasy, you know, that the facility is there period, even though it’s state run now, “she said.
Many who live next door are in a different frame of mind and want to look out for their families.
“The barbed wire, the fence, the caging, what other ways are there to protect the surrounding if you’re going to house criminals?” asked Phillip Hoskins.
The neighbors have so many questions and worries, some that go beyond safety.
“The property values will be substantially reduced if you want to sell,” said Hoskins.
“We did a lot of upgrades here. This is where we originally planned to retire. That’s not going to happen now. We’re already talking about relocating again,” added Kidd-Kolyvas.
She says in a way, the shift has good intentions by trying to give these kids a different chance to succeed but there are still doubts it’ll work, “It has to be personally owned for them to change their behavior to be successful.”
The Department of Children’s Services says this is not a done deal. The state is in the midst of negotiations, hoping to have a contract and finalized plans by the end of June. The state also says while they’ve planned on razor wire coming down from the perimeter, current plans have always envisioned a fence for the property.
Homeowners say they’re losing peace of mind. “The ability to go outside and feel safe, in my opinion, because you’ll always be looking over your shoulder,” said Kidd-Kolyvas.