2011-07-14 / Front Page

Town Meeting A Washout

Next commissioners’ town meeting set for August 4
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER

The attendance at last Thursday’s town meeting hosted by the Fulton County commissionwhen ers mirrored that of participation of meetings past.

In following a “feast or famine” theme, the commissioners Bonnie Mellott Keefer, David Hoover II and Craig Cutchall waited 20 minutes before calling off the town meeting in Emmaville for lack of an audience.

The commissioners have encountered lackluster and zero attendance in prior years, such as at the McConnellsburg Senior Center, and as a result dropped the venue from their list of meeting sites. In comparison, the commissioners have boasted stellar attendance, most recently at the Thompson Township Municipal Building and Green Hill Sewing Club, where the majority of residents on hand voiced their displeasure over the county’s plans for the sheriff’s office.

The topic of the sheriff’s office, most commonly referred to as the county jail, was on schedule for discussion during Thursday’s meeting at the Brush Creek Township Election House, according to Bonnie Mellott Keefer, chair of the Board of Commissioners. Keefer said a jail preservation project headed by the Fulton County Historical Society is currently under way to finance much-needed exterior renovations.

In a donation pamphlet prepared by the Historical Society, it was noted that in 1850 the Pennsylvania legislature was petitioned for the creation of Fulton County. In order for the separation from Bedford County to be approved, local residents were required to raise private funds to build a courthouse and a jail. A total of 50 residents pledged money, and in 1851 John Sipes constructed the new jail for a cost of $2,874.

Over the years, the facility was remodeled to include a layer of rough stucco over the brick exterior. The stucco, however, cannot be removed without severe damage to the underlying layer of brick. As a result, the Historical Society is soliciting local residents for funding to cover the building in “thin bricks” that will be prepared by Redland Brick and Siding Systems in sand-coated wooden molds.

The Historical Society has established a goal of $70,000 to cover labor, materials and other minor expenses that may arise. The county has agreed to pay costs associated with a new roof, windows, electrical wiring and the geothermal system, which is already installed in McConnell Park.

In addition to accepting monetary donations, Commissioner Keefer told the “News” a dinner auction will be held at the Hustontown Firehall to raise needed money. The event will kick off on August 13 at 4 p.m. with a silent auction, which will be followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and a traditional auction at 6:30 p.m.

Among the items already donated, Keefer said, is a Mark Twain Noe print and an original framed painting by Brian Tucker of the Winegardner Schoolhouse in Taylor Township. Residents are encouraged to make donations to the event, and they can be dropped off at the commissioners’ office.

Even though they are already giving much consideration to their 2012 town meeting calendar and agenda, the commissioners still have two additional meetings scheduled for the remainder of this year. On August 4, the commissioners will be appearing at the Wells Tannery Community Building to meet with local residents. The final meeting has been set for September 1 at the Dott Village Store. Meetings begin at 7 p.m., and all are encouraged to attend.

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