Yes, In My Backyard


This article was written on 10 Aug 2014, and is filled under In The News, Pennsylvania.

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Pennsylvania Corrections officials vowed they would save money by closing the state prison in Hempfield.

Nearly 14 months later, more than $2 million has been spent on upkeep and security at the empty prison, while the projected budget for the Department of Corrections has ballooned to $2 billion a year.

And although officials said a year ago that the state could make more than $1.5 million by selling the prison, the behemoth officially known as SCI Greensburg has not even been listed for sale.

“I would’ve expected much more priority and urgency put on this by the administration,” Westmoreland County Commissioner Ted Kopas said. “The whole process has been a failure.”

It’s taken a year for the state to decide whether all or part of the 123-acre site would be put up for sale, state and local officials said.

Hempfield Township Planning Commission unanimously recommended on Wednesday that township supervisors approve the state’s request to subdivide the property into three lots: one where the prison stands, a 5-acre lot housing the state police crime lab and an undeveloped 12-acre parcel. Supervisors could vote on the subdivision plan on Aug. 25.

That approval is key because the site has to be subdivided before lawmakers can approve putting the prison up for sale, state officials said.

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