CANTON, S.D. (KELO) — Neighbors Opposing Prison Expansion, also known as NOPE, hosted a public forum Thursday night. However, people may have been left with more questions than answers after DOC Secretary Kellie Wasko declined her invitation to the event.
People packed into the public forum, hungry for answers. The goal of the meeting was to help bring more awareness and education about the proposed men’s prison site.
“To inform the public of some of the concerns that we have with the new penitentiary. We’ve had a few meetings so far and we just feel like we have a lot of unanswered questions as well,” said Emily Hohman, who lives less than a mile from site.
This process has brought out a lot of emotions of the NOPE members, especially frustration.
“I would say we feel frustrated and still feel somewhat blindsided. There’s a lot of unanswered questions. For me personally, it’s a lot of sadness, a lot of stress that comes along with this too,” says Hohman.
Along with questions the group had, other people were also able to voice their concerns.
NOPE says they have had a good experience working with the local government.
“We were not involved. We were not on the committee that was in.”
“It’s just not the way to run the government.”
“They still need to put more money towards this deal. So in that respect, it’s not over. So I would say to continue to apply that pressure.”
However, the state government has been harder to work with.
“It’s the higher ups, the Department of Corrections. We have not heard anything from them,” says Hohman.
At the end of the day, the people that live by the proposed site just want answers.
“And I know a lot of people are unaware of, you know, what to do. And I think it’s just important to reach out to the representatives and also let them know the frustrations and there’s a lot of concerns that we have,” says Hohman.
Click here for more information on NOPE.