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Hempfield approves prison site subdivision

| Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, 10:42 p.m.

Hempfield supervisors cleared the way on Monday for legislators to put the former SCI Greensburg up for sale, nearly 14 months since its closure.

Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a subdivision plan for the approximately 123-acre tract that houses the defunct state prison.

SCI Greensburg closed in June 2013, and the state has spent more than $2 million in upkeep and security to maintain the property. Legislators needed the township's subdivision plan approval before a vote could be taken to list the property for sale.

At least two parties that have not been publicly named have expressed interest in the site along Route 119.

Supervisors did not discuss the resolution prior to approval. Supervisor Doug Weimer previously said the township lost 370 jobs, along with $21,000 a year in occupational privilege taxes and about $425,000 a year in municipal authority revenues with the prison's closure.

The subdivision plan calls for three lots: one where the prison stands, a 5-acre lot housing the state police crime lab and an undeveloped 12-acre parcel.

Through the subdivision, the state maintains ownership of the 10-year-old, $2.1 million state police crime lab in addition to the undeveloped tract. The subdivision application was filed in May.

Local officials said they were caught off guard by the state's announcement in January 2013 that it would close the Hempfield prison.

Inmates were shipped to a new 2,000-bed prison in Centre County or to SCI Pine Grove in Indiana County. Most employees chose to transfer elsewhere within the state prison system.

The prison was built in the 1960s and opened as a minimum-security facility in 1969 before becoming a correctional institution in 1986. Millions were spent on expansion throughout the decades.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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