Comfort House possibly to get a new home
The Harrison County Board of Commissioners made a recommendation last Wednesday evening to allow Comfort House to use one of the county’s recently acquired buildings east of Atwood Street near the Government Center complex in south Corydon.
It was only a recommendation because an ordinance would have to be prepared and advertised, and two of the three commissioners will not be back in the new year.
‘We’ve run out of time,’ Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said.
The recommendation was made to the incoming board of commissioners, which will include current Commissioner Jim Klinstiver (District 3), George Ethridge (District 1) and Kenneth (Kenny) Saulman (District 2).
Klinstiver said he supported Comfort House acquiring the building, which is the structure next to the former EMS four-bay garage building.
Comfort House provides treatment and education to reduce the harm of sexual exploitation. It provides services to families affected by sexual abuse, including a multi-disciplinary team forensic interview approach, advocacy and referral to counseling, legal and educational program. Comfort House personnel work as a team with law enforcement, child protective services, mental health, medical professionals, prosecution and advocacy.
‘We are a small organization with huge ramifications,’ Pat Wolfe, Comfort House board vice president, said.
Wolfe teared up when speaking about how one out of every four girls and one out of every five boys face sexual mistreatment. She said the Penn State University child molestation case brought the problem to the mainstream.
‘It can happen to your children or grandchildren,’ Wolfe said as she turned to face the meeting attendees. ‘It’s happening right now as we speak.’
Comfort House is currently located along Concord Avenue in Corydon, where it is required to pay rent.
With a move to county property, rent would be eliminated, saving the county money, Commissioner James Goldman said.
The county provides $25,000 a year to Comfort House in funding.
‘I’ve been willing to help you all forever … I wish we could’ve gotten the ball rolling earlier and finalized something this year,’ Mathes said. ‘I’m with James (Goldman). Hopefully, the new board will see your needs and help you.’
Goldman said Comfort House benefits the county and he knows it does good work.
About a month ago, the county accepted the deeds of three properties east of Atwood Street: the building Comfort House seeks, the former health department building or ‘Rothrock’ house and a building in between the two that is currently used as a doctor’s office.
For more information about Comfort House, call 1-812-225-5437 or send an e-mail to its executive director, Donna Lloyd Black, at [email protected]
In other business, the commissioners opened bids for the Justice Center remodeling project. The bids included three packages: finishes and sealants, mechanical and electrical, and security upgrade.
The low base bid in package 1 was Parco Construction Group LLC at $292,500; in package 2 was Lusk Group at $129,060; and the only bidder for package 3 was Starlight Electric Co. at $605,000.
On Thursday night, at the commissioners’ final meeting of the year, the board approved the low bid, including alternates which totaled about $1.2 million.
The commissioners approved $1.2 million for Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye in July for repairs to the jail, which are needed because the jail failed inspection on multiple occasions.
The 17-year-old jail needs to undergo several maintenance projects. Exterior and interior caulking, glazing and repair and replacement of sealant throughout the facility need to be completed. Re-coating of shower walls and floors are also necessary because water is leaking through the walls and into inmate sleeping areas. Stainless steel shower units in all inmate areas also need to be replaced due to abuse.
As of now, the renovations will not force Harrison County to move inmates to other jails as previously believed, according to Seelye.
The commissioners’ next meeting will be Monday at 8:30 a.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.