Sturges Word Helps Organize Support for Thomson Prison

Grassroots community support raised visibility of potential 3,000 jobs, $1 billion in economic activity

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (January 6, 2010) – Sturges Word Communications, a Kansas City, Mo.-based integrated communications firm that builds brands, moves product and manages reputations, helped the Tri-County Economic Development Alliance (TCEDA) in northwestern Illinois organize and engage grassroots community support for the use of the Thomson Correctional Center to house terrorism suspects now held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

TCEDA and SWC worked to mobilize an overwhelming show of support for the proposal at an official state legislative hearing that drew national media attention and hundreds attendees.

Sturges Word developed the overall strategy to organize and mobilize support; developed the media materials and Web site copy; created the campaign name, logo and tagline; helped build and manage social media outreach; coordinated event-day logistics for the group; and drafted the testimony delivered by TCEDA’s chairman at the special legislative hearing.

The panel voted in 7-4 in favor of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn closing the prison so it could be used as desired by the Obama administration.

Completed in 2001, the Thomson prison was to house approximately 1,600 maximum security prisoners under the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections. Budget cuts have prevented the prison from fully opening – only a small, minimum security wing is operational.

In late October 2009, the facility emerged as a potential site for housing detained terrorism suspects currently held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While some communities have strongly opposed the idea of GITMO prisoners coming to their area, the people of Carroll County (and surrounding areas in northwestern Illinois) have largely supported the idea.

Headquartered in Savanna, Ill., TCEDA is a private, not-for-profit 501c6 corporation formed to develop regional public/private partnerships that promote, encourage and support industrial and economic development in Jo Daviess, Carroll and Whiteside Counties.

Sturges Word Communications is a full-service integrated marketing communications agency with special expertise in the development/real estate, financial/professional services, public involvement/government, retail/hospitality, and utility sectors. The agency helps clients get results with experience and creativity applied to the right mix of communications tools including advertising, branding, community engagement, creative, crisis communications, event planning, public relations, social media strategy, and Web design. The firm’s work does what matters to clients – builds brands, moves product and manages reputations. Sturges Word is a member of the Worldcom Group, the largest network of independent integrated and public relations firms in the world.