With many similarities to the ill-conceived and unpopular plan from fifteen years ago, an initiative to build a prison in the pristine Trout run section of Brush Valley is once again being advanced. And like the original plot, this scheme it is just as, if not more, confusing.
The difference this time is that instead of a Federal prison, County Commissioner Clausi believes Brush valley is the best location to construct a new county prison; a project he has long supported, even before the sudden destruction of the Sunbury county prison.
What remains the same are the facts: Brush valley is an environmental diamond in the rough, whose value as a natural resource far outweighs any need to destroy it; there are many better locations available, (preferably in Sunbury); and as before, the public opposes it.
In an attempt to determine what could possibly be the reason Brush Valley seems to be the ONLY place prisons can be built, the Brush Valley Preservation Association (BVPA) is seeking documents detailing correspondences between Northumberland County and the owner of Brush Valley, Aqua America. In addition, we’ve requested information concerning the County’s prison insurance policy. These documents are clearly public information, vital in understanding this situation. But, unfortunately, using a strategy that looks like it was torn from a previous administration’s play book, the county is dragging its feet in releasing these records. We truly hope the county will learn from the failed actions of those previous commissioners, and honor our requests in a timely manor.
And now, most disturbingly of all, it has come to light that an investigation into a possible arson plot at the prison is underway. How such a plot, if real, could be connected with the desire to build a prison in Brush Valley is not yet clear. But even the accusation of arson is deeply troubling.
Yes, the push to once again waste the taxpayer’s money by needlessly destroying Brush Valley is back, more perplexing than ever. It made little sense before, and even less now.
Fortunately, something else is back: our determination to stop it.