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Attendees at Sunday's rally

Rally held to block prison

By Michael Butler

A mega prison that will house approximately 3,900 inmates is on the drawing board to be built just outside of the Tallassee city limits on Rifle Range Road.

On Sunday, approximately 100 people attended a block the prison rally on property owned by Alan Parker near the proposed prison site.

"Over 2,000 have signed a petition against a prison being built here," Parker said. "We're protesting what we feel is Gov. Ivey's unfair selection process on these prisons.

"The people in West Elmore, Millbrook (and) Wetumpka want these prisons. The infrastructure is already there. We want to know why they're pushing this thing on Tallassee. We don't think it's a good thing for Tallassee. We beleive there's some kind of corruption on this deal. It doesn't make sense."

Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock balked at the idea of any type of corruption.

"It's absurd to accuse someone of underhanding. I've done a lot of crappy things, but a thief I am not," Hammock said. "For these people to try incite a riot against me and my family that there was some kind of wrongdoing, that I would take kickbacks, come and talk to me at the crack of dawn on a Saturday or Sunday when my wife and I are feeding 30 dogs and taking them out to the bathroom and cleaning up after them. Come and talk to me when my wife is getting stitched up from a dog bite. Mind your own business.

"I'm trying to make this town a better place. Don't try to sling dirt on me. Blowing out my candles is not going to make yours any brighter. I'm sorry if you think it might disrupt your Sons of Confederate Veterans little pow-wow you're about to have. I'm here for another four years. How about everybody stop bashing the city on something it has not control over. The last I checked, it's outside of the city limits."

Charles Blalock speaking on the front porch at Alan Parker's home on Rifle Range Road

Parker also remarked that the governor's office might have had a calculated decision to delay the announcement of the Tallassee-area site until after the city's municipal election.

"It's all been so secret," said Parker. "They announced the prisons in Escambia and Bibb Counties, but they wouldn't announce where in Elmore. A lot of people are saying - I don't know if it's true or not - that the announcement was delayed to protect the current mayor because he would've lost. It seems like enough people would be opposed to a prison to turn him out of office."

Hammock responded.

"If you really think the governor's office gives two rips about a small town election like Tallassee, they couldn't care less. There is no relationship there."

Former Tallassee city councilman David Stough posted on Facebook about his opposition to a prison near Tallassee.

"I went to work in 1982 with Department of Corrections and retired in 2012," Stough wrote. "(I've) been in (and) around every prison in the state and I can not get excited about a prison coming near Tallassee. Now I know that there are people in this town that are going to bash me because they know more about a prison and have never even seen one."

Parker said he still feels that there is still a chance that the prison near Tallassee will not come to fruition.

"We're optimistic," he said. "If enough people protest and complain about it, we dont' think they will appreciate Gov. Ivey's method of choosing this prison."