MADISON, Ala. - The Madison City Council told Sequel TSI leaders they have one week to close up and move out. Now, leaders from Three Springs Youth Detention Center may be taking the matter to court.
If Sequel TSI doesn't comply, Mayor Paul Finley could ask a judge to shut down the facility and send the troubled young men somewhere else. Many neighbors say after several escapes over the past few years, including three who ran off three weeks ago, the youth center has worn out its welcome.
"The police department should not be in the position of being Sequel's backup security any longer," said Madison City Attorney Megan Zingarelli.
"There's no question, we don't feel safe with this facility in our community," Mayor Finley said.
It was a unanimous decision by Madison City Council on Wednesday night to revoke Sequel Three Springs' business license.
"Frankly, I'm surprised they're still here. I thought voluntarily they would've left here by now," Madison resident Jody Creekmore said.
"The kind of facility and programs we offer are unique. And we can't just pack up and move elsewhere," said Sequel Regional Vice President Kenny Roberts.
The center on Browns Ferry Road houses over 50 boys, some of whom are in the foster system, and some who are in trouble with the law.
The Madison City Council gave Sequel TSI a week to shut down or respond.
"And what's frustrating for me is corporate Sequel has made a decision not to work with us," said Mayor Finley.
"They have attorneys on retainer who are going to fight for the facility. So, I'm not surprised in the least that we're probably going to have a long drawn out court dispute about whether they stay or go," Creekmore said.
Many neighbors living in the Walden neighborhood applauded the council's decision. Some homeowners say Sequel TSI's property is just over the fence from where their kids play.
"There'll be very little mercy for escapees and those residents may very well shoot to kill, should they encounter an escapee from that facility," said Madison City Council Member Maura Wroblewski.
"That's the tough thing, because the losers are the kids," said Creekmore.
Madison City leaders said in a written statement:
"The revocation of the business license took immediate effect last night. The mayor, city attorney's office and police department are evaluating all options to enforce the council's decision."
A spokesperson hired by Sequel told WHNT News 19:
"We met with the city in good faith to reach a reasonable solution. We are reviewing the council`s resolution and are considering all options."