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As YSB merges into Boys & Girls Club, county asked to roll over assets

Commissioners also receive request to utilize facility as law enforcement substation

February 17, 2016
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners received formal notice last month that the Crawford County Youth Services Program Inc. will merge into the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harrison-Crawford Counties Inc. and, with that, received a request to transfer the program's funds to the BGC.

Wayne Carothers, who has served as executive director of the YSB for about the past year and a half, told the commissioners at their Jan. 28 meeting at the judicial complex in English that moving the funds to the BGC would allow it to be used for its original intent: programming for young people.

"What best way to do this than to put (the money) back into the program," he said.

Carothers, reading from a letter signed by him and Kim Grizzel, the executive director of the BGC, who also was present, noted that the Crawford County Youth Service Bureau and the BGC (formerly the CARES before- and after-school program) "have always worked closely together, collaborating on programming and funding sources, never in competition with one another but in total support, and the union only seems appropriate.

"Resources now can be combined, thus making one outstanding agency advocating for youth of all ages, allowing more dollars for programming serving our youth and their families."

Asked by the commissioners about the future of programming at the YSB facility at Marengo, Grizzel said, "Right now, we're just evaluating things."

"We're going to continue to do weekend (recreation)," she said. "Some could continue to be done at the facility, doesn't have to be."

District 1 Commissioner Daniel Crecelius said he believes transferring YSB assets to the BGC is a good idea but he wants first to make sure the county legally can do so, considering grant funding may be involved.

Jim Schultz, president of the board of commissioners, asked if the BGC would have any issue with the building being used by the Town of Marengo, to which Grizzel answered that it wouldn't. The BGC, she explained, would only be using it for weekend recreation for youth, not office space.

The purpose behind Schultz's question was revealed later in the meeting, when Shawn Scott, the Marengo town marshal, presented a proposal that, among other things, would allow for the town's police department to be located at what is now the YSB building.

Scott, who also is a deputy with the Crawford County Sheriff's Department, also proposed that the building be used as a substation for other law enforcement personnel, including the CCSD, Norfolk Southern railway police, USDA Forest Service law enforcement, Indiana State Police and Indiana conservation officers. The facility also would serve as an office for the Crawford County Drug-free Council.

Scott noted that some of those agencies do not have available office space in the county to work on reports, lay out evidence for review or to talk with people regarding ongoing cases.

"With all of those people on board, we just couldn't see how it wouldn't be a great opportunity to, one, keep those agencies to be able to do their daily work here in the county, which would also offer better response times, more deterrence in the area," he said.

Besides giving officers from those agencies office space, the arrangement, Scott said, would allow them to be more interactive with the county's youth, helping to build relationships between young people and law enforcement. He noted that there has been talk among the agencies of each hosting a monthly program for youth.

"I think it would be a really good thing, if you could get the kids in there, if this works out," District 2 Commissioner Randy Gilmore said.

"That's all we're asking, is give it a chance," Scott said.

Crecelius also expressed support, but, like with transferring assets to the BGC, said he wants to make sure things are done properly.

"I think this is an excellent program and I'll support it, but one thing that I'm concerned about is the clarification of the ownership on the building and the grants that were involved to furnish the money to buy the building," he said. "We obviously don't want to infringe on something that we're not supposed to. But, if we get that cleared up, I don't have a problem."

County attorney John E. Colin is to check on the details of the YSB's grants in time for the commissioners' next regular meeting, which will be Feb. 25 at 9:30 a.m. at the judicial complex.

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