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Hoosier Hills PACT needs new home

It appears Hoosier Hills PACT will need to find a new home in August, after a discussion Monday morning during the Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting.
The agency currently has an office on the first floor of the courthouse in downtown Corydon, but the commissioners plan to use that space for archive storage which is currently housed across the street in the old jail building along North Capitol Avenue.
The Harrison County Museum is planned for the old jail/Archives Building, meaning everything needs to be cleared out.
Circuit Court Judge John Evans made a strong case for the archives to be kept near their office, not off at another location, such as the Government Center, Commissioner George Ethridge said.
Hoosier Hills PACT, which is based in Salem, provides alternative programming in youth services, victim services and community corrections.
The organization, director Jon Kuss said, has been Harrison County’s Community Corrections provider for more than 30 years.
‘Maybe we’re the best thing you’ve never heard about,’ Kuss said.
Three women who have used Hoosier Hills PACT to get their life straightened out spoke in favor of the agency. All said they were grateful for the supervision programs.
‘PACT gave me a chance to prove I was doing good, changed my life,’ Tina Roach said. ‘Without it, I had no chance to show I changed my life.’
Another speaker said the program made her accountable because she had to call and check in every day.
‘They treated me like a human being,’ she said. ‘I still call them, even though I don’t have to.’
Hoosier Hills PACT administers programs such as Thinking for a Change, Moving On and other day reporting/case management programs with intensive supervision.
Ethridge said he’s not questioning the work done by the agency or the necessity of it, but he, and the commissioners, are questioning the location.
‘You have to realize, that’s prime real estate,’ Ethridge said.
Commissioner Kenny Saulman said the county needs that space badly and asked if they could be out by Aug. 1.
Kuss said it would be tough to be out by then but not impossible. They were waiting to speak with the commissioners before making a decision, he said.
Kuss thanked the commissioners for allowing Hoosier Hills PACT to be located in the space at the courthouse, and previously at the Justice Center, and said he hoped they would come to some resolution regarding the office location for three employees (soon to be six employees with additional funding from the Dept. of Corrections).
‘Our first choice is to stay right where we are,’ he said.
The current location is convenient for clients because of its proximity to the Harrison County Circuit Court Clerk’s office on the second floor, Kuss said, and he worries if they move too far from downtown they may lose clients.
‘The traffic from the clerk’s office to our office is not insignificant,’ he said.
The commissioners have offered a facility along Atwood Street, where the Family Medical Clinic used to be housed as an option. Also, vacant space on the town square, which would require financial help for rent, could work.
The board was to meet again with Kuss yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon to make a final decision about the matter.
The board never adjourned Monday’s meeting; instead, it only recessed so it could continue discussion and decision-making yesterday.
In other business, the board approved a bid from E & B Paving for the reconstruction of Corydon-Ramsey Road between Sherri Lane and Pennington Chapel for a total of $553,600. The only other bid ($597,400) was from Temple & Temple.
The bid fell in line with the estimate from Heritage Engineering, Kevin Russel, Harrison County engineer, said.
Russel also reported that all of the right-of-way work is complete on Green Acres Drive, and they can now move quickly with the widening and improving of the road, which leads to Indiana Caverns. A wreck occurred on the road during the weekend, Russel said, with significant damage to the vehicles.
The board also agreed to allow Rand Heazlitt, Harrison County Parks superintendent, to use leftover funding from the pool repairs at South Harrison Park near Elizabeth to hire Aquatic Control to spray weeds at the lake at Buffalo Trace Park near Palmyra. Heazlitt said they don’t have the equipment or expertise to do it in-house.
‘I don’t want to take the risk of a fish kill,’ he said. ‘We can’t do as good of a job.’
Heazlitt said the weeds are up to the surface near the middle of the lake and close to the swimming area.
‘It’s dangerous,’ he said.
The total cost of the three-part spray plan will be $6,825.
Heazlitt reported that Buffalo Trace camp sites were 100 percent full during the Fourth of July weekend and South Harrison Park was two-thirds full.
The commissioners’ next meeting will be Monday, July 20, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.