The City of Titusville may soon receive a little more than $12,000 as reimbursement for recently acquired park benches and tables put up at Robert’s Grove and Scheide Park.
The Crawford County Commissioners discussed the reimbursement at their meeting Wednesday. The money comes from Act 13, a Pennsylvania law that requires natural gas companies to pay an impact fee to the state for each natural gas well they own on the Marcellus Shale. This money is then dispersed to the counties that host the gas wells and can be spent on environmental projects.
The city was approved to receive $12,256 in Act 13 funds in March as reimbursement for several tables and benches which were installed in the two parks. The park features were installed in June 19, and cost around $1,000 each.
Infamously, the Robert’s Grove benches and tables were vandalized only two days after their installation. City officials on June 21 found the outdoor furniture covered in graffiti that had been written in permanent marker.
This vandalism would later prompt one local man, Jimmy Gionti, to begin raising money for the purchase of security cameras for Robert’s Grove. Gionti is raising the money through a Go Fund Me page, which has so far raised $3,033 of its $7,000 goal.
The commissioners will vote whether to approve the reimbursement at their next meeting.
Correctional facility security
The commissioners are considering a whole body inspection system for the Crawford County Correctional Facility. The system detects illegal narcotics and other substances hidden on or within the body and it costs $95,000.
Commissioner Christopher Soff said that the system resembles the security scanners seen at airports and will be used to combat attempts to smuggle drugs and contraband into the prison.
“It will make the inmates safer, as well as the staff safer,” Soff said.
While the commissioners have been discussing acquiring the scanner for a few months, according to Soff, certain recent events have played a factor in motivating them to get the system.
The Allegheny County Jail, located in Pittsburgh, recently went into lockdown after nine officers and two medical staff got sick due to a narcotic smuggled into the prison.
Other jails across the state have experienced similar issues. A correctional facility in Waynesburg had around 10 staff members fall ill after exposure to illegal drugs within the facility, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.
It is currently unknown what kind of drug caused the sickness, but some officials have pointed towards synthetic cannabis, known as K-2. Commissioner Soff confirmed that the whole body scanner would be able to detect K-2, even if it was hidden within a person’s body.
Gov. Tom Wolf and Department of Corrections Secretary John E. Wetzel announced Wednesday in a press conference that the state’s prison system is taking steps to limit drug smuggling into correctional facilities. Measures include using electronic books instead of physical ones for prisoners, and body scanners similar to the ones the commissioners are considering.
Whether the county will purchase the scanner will be decided upon at the next commissioner meeting, which will take place on Sept. 18, at 1 p.m., at the Crawford County Courthouse.
Ray can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.