Crawford County’s recent purchase of the former Talon Plant 5 building on upper Arch Street was a point of two discussions at the recent meeting of Crawford County commissioners.
After commissioners made a motion to approve payment of routine bills, Commissioner Sherman Allen commented that although he was approving payments, he protested any bills for the Talon Plant 5 building. Although there were no Talon bills in this period’s batch approved Thursday, the county has paid in excess of $50,000 since spring for electricity, gas and telephone service in that building.
The county purchased the Talon building this spring for $250,000 — a move that drew protests by many county residents, and it became an issue of debate during the weeks leading up to the primary election that included nine candidates for county commissioner. Plans at the time of purchase, which has been disputed as a secretive deal, were to renovate the sprawling but aging facility then use it for additional space for county operations.
Preliminary cost estimates for that work have ranged from $25 million to $55 million depending on the option chosen. Commissioners are seeking an advisory committee of as many as 19 concerned citizens to help guide the effort.
On Thursday, Allen questioned the status of appointments to the citizen’s advisory committee. Chief Clerk Cheryl Porter-Jackson said she has received six letters of interest and she and county planner Jack Lynch have a tentative appointment to start reviewing them. Allen suggested that agencies or organizations which received letters inviting them to make recommendations for appointment should do so as soon as possible so commissioners can get moving on the issue.
No timetable has been announced for work on the building, but current leases are in the process of being discontinued.
Commissioners on Thursday approved lease extensions for French Creek Community Theater and Allison Prettyman, who have offices in that building — with those leases running through the end of September.