1 Clarion project moving ahead, another stalled

Labor shortages have delayed one building project in Clarion County but not the renovation at the new Emergency Management center.

A fire damaged the building at 22 North 6th St. in September 2019, forcing the temporary evacuation of the probation department and the staff of district judge Duane Quinn. Repairs to that building still haven’t been completed.

“That should be finished this summer,” said Clarion County commissioner Ted Tharan. “We couldn’t find any bricklayers. We were also waiting on the insurance company to finish up.”

Tharan said the county is considering taking the old brick off the front of the building and replacing it with new brick due to the deterioration of the mortar. The poor mortar causes the paint to come off.

On a positive note, the new Emergency Management center, including the 9-1-1 center, will be finished soon.

“They have all of the equipment in and they are testing the equipment,” said Tharan. “The department heads had a tour of it last week. We will soon have an open house, possibly this month,” he added.

The 9-1-1 center is presently located in the former county jail in Clarion.

The former Sorce warehouse will have other uses. Tharan said the records storage area is about “halfway” done.

The county’s records are currently stored in the cellblock at the old county jail.

“We are currently working on the HVAC system for the learning center, record storage and emergency shelter,” said Tharan. “Plumbing is in for all the showers.”

The voter registration office may be moved to the center after next week’s primary election.

Tharan said the renovations at the courthouse are continuing.

“We have applied for a grant for renovations,” said Tharan. “An engineer is working on the HVAC system. An architect is also working on a plan for the basement.”

Tharan said the notification of the grant would probably not happen until later this summer.

“We can’t do anything until we know about that,” he said.

The county is reconsidering the use of a property on Route 322. Tharan said the properties located on River Hill (Route 322) weren’t sold at the county’s auction.

“We let the successful bidder out of his contract because of a discrepancy in the survey. We are having the properties surveyed,” Tharan said. “When it is completed we will place the larger property up for sale again.”

The property was formerly the Holabaugh Beer distributor.

“We have been thinking about keeping the smaller property,” said Tharan. “We may want to build a road to the 9-1-1 center because if they cannot get out onto Route 66 they can get out on Route 322. We are working with Universal Forest.”

EMA’s emergency equipment is housed in the center near the county jail.

In another matter this week, the commissioners tentatively awarded a contract for paving at the Clarion County Park to IA Construction pending approval from the county’s solicitor and engineer. I.A.’s bid was $41,471.