A night to remember
The logjam broke April 12 at the Harrison County Council meeting. The council, in an expansive, generous and election-conscious mood, opened up its accounts and spent about $1.5 million for several excellent projects that had been hanging fire for a long time. It was a welcome and historic meeting that will be remembered with gratitude for a long time. The council:
‘ Came up with an additional $100,000 on top of $300,000 that had already been designated for the animal control shelter, which had been estimated recently by several builders to be a $600,000 project. Combined with an anticipated gift of some $130,000 from the Harrison County Community Foundation, the much-needed facility could become a reality ‘ the sooner the better.
‘ Put up $500,000 as a match for a $500,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis for a 30-bed halfway house in Corydon. The need for this facility has been advocated by a group known as the House of New Beginnings, led by attorney Leah Fink, the former public defender. Everyone with a family member who needs drug or alcohol rehabilitation knows how important a local facility can be. The people who get approval to live there in a tightly controlled environment will have to hold down a job and pay room and board. It’s expected that persons from other counties will be sent during recovery to the facility, as space allows, and that will help offset operating costs. If the grant is approved this summer, ground could be broken soon afterward.
‘ Designated $432,000 to complete the renovation of the old Harrison Count Jail on the town square that hadn’t been used for much of anything except a Haunted House on Halloween since 1996. It was fast becoming a liability. Now we hope it will be a handsome community asset, housing several county offices and archival storage.
‘ Earmarked an additional $200,000 for Harrison County Community Services, which can always use the money.
‘ Approved $100,000 in matching funds for a new youth shelter for girls, to be built by Blue River Services. Currently, BRS operates Wyandotte House in Corydon, which has room for 10 youth and always needs more room. The new money will enable the boys and girls to be housed separately, which is the way it ought to be for adolescents. As managing editor Jackie Carpenter reported all this good news last week, it was noted that construction on the new ‘Summit View Youth Shelter’ could begin this summer.
For a council that had been splitting hairs over spending thousands of dollars when it has millions of dollars in casino boat revenue in the bank, this sudden outburst of forward, humanitarian thinking was nothing short of astonishing.
When you combine all these very positive and good developments with the Main Street Coyrdon’s announcement that it is going to buy the soon-to-be-abandoned 14-acre Keller Furniture site in Corydon (with $300,000 from the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau) for some far-sighted development ideas, you have one extraordinary week in the future of Harrison County.
Now if the council would take some positive action on the need for a new and better-equipped Harrison County Hospital, we can say with great pride that we live in a progressive county that’s watching out for its rich and its poor alike, its healthy and its ailing, its animal population and its human population, its present and its future.