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HOBART | A Chicago-based consulting firm representing the GEO Group wants to meet privately with a member of an organization opposed to efforts to build an immigration detention facility in the city.

Sandy O'Brien, spokeswoman for Friends of Robinson Lake and a member of The Concerned Citizens of Hobart, said Resolute Consulting asked her to have a private meeting with GEO Group.

GEO, a Florida-based company that operates privately owned immigration detention centers, owns about 40 acres east of Interstate 65 near Robinson Lake.

“I told them I’d get back to Friends of Robinson Lake and the consensus was generally not to meet with them,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said she recommended the possibility of a group meeting with the Concerned Citizens.

“They called back and said they’re not performing town hall meetings at this time,” O’Brien said.

Resolute Consulting on its website says it has a successful track record of working on high-profile issues throughout the United States.

O’Brien and members of Concerned Citizens met Wednesday at First Unitarian Church following a Hobart City Council meeting in which Mayor Brian Snedecor said there have been no petitions to the city for building a detention center.

Concerned Citizen member Susan Boyd said she would have liked to have heard council members go on the record about what their opinions are with GEO apparently coming into the community.

“We are into this all together,” she said.

Boyd said there should be a look at alternative types of businesses to generate tax dollars to bring to the community.

“It’s hard to stay in Hobart and watch Crown Point grow, Valparaiso grow, Chesterton grow and they were no bigger than we are,” she said. “We want something that will draw people here.”

Gil Razo moved to Hobart 18 years ago, said he loves the community and believes the property should be given to the people for them to decide what to do with it.

Razo said a detention center isn’t needed in Hobart

“People won’t come here,” he said. “Who’s going to want to come here?

Paulie Garcia, co-founder of MIGHT (Mass Incarceration and Geo Halt Team), pretty much summed up how the Concerned Citizens feel.

“We want to keep Hobart, Indiana a bedroom community – not a prison bed community,” he said.

For more information about the Concerned Citizens of Hobart call (219) 743-0679 or visit www.nohobartprison.com.

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Regional News Editor