Carroll will ask new Governor to keep Training Center open

By Allen Worrell

February 19, 2014

Carroll County will send a resolution of support to new Governor Terry McAuliffe to keep the Southwestern Virginia Training Center in Hillsville open.

Supervisor Tom Littrell made the motion during the Carroll County Board of Supervisors’ Feb. 10 meeting. Virginia reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in August of 2012 to close four of the state’s five training centers, including the Hillsville facility, to move residents to other smaller homes or facilities. Under the agreement, the Southwestern Virginia Training Center in Hillsville was scheduled to be closed by June 30, 2018.

That agreement was made under former Governor Bob McDonnell, however, and Littrell was hopeful a change in the state’s leadership may sway the decision to close the training center. The Pipers Gap District supervisor said he attend Legislative Day in Richmond the previous week. There, he had a chance to meet several legislators and to hear Governor McAuliffe speak.

“One thing we talked about that is certainly a concern to our area is the potential closing of the Southwestern Virginia Training Center. There have been some bills presented to the General Assembly this year. To date none of those have gone past the committee or subcommittee level, but I think from my discussion with some of our legislators it would be very imperative that we as a county contact our new Governor and see if we can sway his thoughts to keeping that facility open,” Littrell said. “The former Governor tended to think that was a thing we needed to close, but I think if the leadership came from the (new) Governor, that might enhance our chances of keeping it open.”

Littrell noted there are five training centers in the state right now. As of 2020, the only one left open will be in Eastern Virginia. Littrell said he thought it was “unacceptable” for the Eastern Virginia facility to include only 75 beds for residents for its facility as well as the other four in the state.

“So I would suggest that you contact the Governor with your concerns about that,” Littrell said.

Board Chairman David Hutchins asked if Littrell wanted to make that a motion.

“I think that would be very appropriate and I would make that motion,” Littrell said.

Supervisor Sam Dickson seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Allen Worrell can be reached by calling (276) 728-7311 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN.