Harrison Twp. Recruits Inmates To Renovate Community Building

From Potter County Today

harrisontwpbldg2A one-of-a-kind partnership resulted in a remodeling of the Harrison Township Community Building to improve energy efficiency and improve its structural integrity and appearance. “This shows what can be accomplished when volunteers and elected officials work together,” said Township Secretary Bonnie French, who took an active role in the project.

It all started when the township was awarded a grant through the Potter County Commissioners and Redevelopment Authority for a building energy audit in 2008. Once that audit was completed, township officials set about pulling together the necessary funds to implement the recommendations. Half of the $88,000 needed was provided through the 2009 federal economic stimulus legislation. A state grant brought another $10,000. The Harrison Township Board of Supervisors kicked in $11,000 from its Building Repair Fund. Harrison Township TV Association made a $1,000 donation.

For labor, the township pulled together volunteers from the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary, the community library, Head Start staff and parents, township officials themselves, clergy members and community volunteers. Bonnie French also enlisted the services of Potter County Jail inmates who were looking for ways to work off their community service obligations. She worked with Judge Stephen Minor, Sheriff Ken Sauley and Community Service Coordinator Brooke Goodrich from the Potter County Probation Department to arrange for the inmates’ services. French even provided transportation between the jail in Coudersport and the work site in Harrison Valley. She spoke very highly of the inmates’ work, conducted under the direction of Township Supervisor Larry Sherman.

Windows and doors were replaced with more energy-efficient models; walls were repaired, insulated and painted, and cosmetic improvements were completed. Township Supervisor Ted White confirmed that the energy efficiency improvements alone have saved Harrison Township hundreds of dollars per month.

The Harrison Township Community Building, which was formerly an elementary school, houses the township office, library, volunteer fire company, Head Start and WIC.

Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.


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One Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Bout time someone gives people in jail a chance instead of making them out to be scum of the earth.

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