New boiler is on way to warm up Clarion County Courthouse

The Clarion County Courthouse may be a little chilly for a few days.

County Commissioner Ted Tharan said at Tuesday’s commissioners meeting the old boiler for the hot water heating system had failed and needs to be replaced.

“We ordered a new boiler earlier this year and it was supposed to be delivered in August,” Tharan said. “The manufacturer called us and told us they could not get steel to make the new boiler.”

Tharan said they located a new boiler in Ohio.

“That boiler should be here in a few days,” said Tharan. “A team from the manufacturer will install the boiler.”

Tharan said five of the nine partitions in the old boiler had failed.

“We looked at just replacing the sections that failed but it was corroded on the bottom and water just ran out of it,” said Tharan. “It didn’t make sense to replace those partitions in an old boiler.”

Tharan said the new boiler would use steam heat and that means the old pipes and joints will need to be replaced.

“They will try to use as much of the old system as possible,” he said. “The engineers and architects will be designing the new system.”

The second part of the project is the installation of the air conditioning system.

“Right now window air conditioners are being used,” Tharan said. “That’s eventually going to damage the new windows.”

He said a “chiller” would be used to cool the air when it returns to the boiler.

Tharan said the total cost of the project won’t be known until the design work is completed. He estimated the cost would be more than $1 million.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners adopted a resolution naming the Clarion County Economic Development Corp. as the county’s tourist promotion agency.

The resolution said the county wants to “plan, develop and promote a new tourism development strategy.”

The tourist promotion agency is funded through a three percent room tax collected by the county. An ordinance was adopted Tuesday that may lead to an increase in the tax rate, possibly to five percent, Tharan said.

“That is the maximum allowed by law,” he said.

The economic development corporation entered into an agreement with Bull Moose in Meadville to manage the effort.

The need to find a new tourist promotion agency originated when the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau terminated its relationship with Clarion County.

Tharan said 50 percent of Clarion County’s population must approve the new tourist promotion agency. Tharan said a resolution will be submitted to the governing bodies in the municipalities for approval.

The commissioners also adopted a request for a one-year grant extension for the Clarion River access study.

The study, funded by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is due to expire at the end of the year. It is designed to help identify public access points on the river.