Thursday, January 30, 2003

Prison's closing will hurt Lima businesses

The Associated Press

LIMA, Ohio - Lottery ticket and pizza sales will suffer when the state closes Lima Correctional Institution to help balance Ohio's budget, restaurant and carryout owners said.

So will the city's budget.

The state said Tuesday it will close the 88-year-old prison by July.

Restaurants and carryouts nearby said many of their customers are workers at the prison, which has 490 staff members.

"We get a lot of them coming and going to work," said Dave Boyles of Fat Jack's Pizza.

"In the afternoon, many prison employees stop at Fat Jack's and pick up pop and snacks on the way to work and beer on the way home."

Second shift workers are frequent pizza and beer customers, he said.

"At 11 o'clock, when they get off of work, we're open for them," Boyles said. "It will definitely impact us."

John Heaphy of Happy Daz, a restaurant nearby, said a lot of workers at the prison order meals to be delivered.

The city gets about $300,000 in income tax a year from the prison, said Steve Cleaves, Lima's interim finance director.

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