MERCER COUNTY Housing authority keeps center as partnership

The partners will put a total of $84,000 into center programs next year.
SHARON, Pa. -- Mercer County Housing Authority approved a contract with a Clarion County nonprofit service agency to run the authority's Sharpsville Learning Center for another year. The authority agreed Wednesday to put $23,600 into the program over the next year.
Keystone SMILES (Service Making an Impact through Learning Experiences with Students) of Knox, Pa., will put $60,640 into the effort.
Keystone SMILES has been running the center for the authority since it opened 16 months ago. It's not the first partnership between the two agencies, however.
They ran an America Reads program for about 120 children in summer 1999, and Keystone SMILES ran an on-the-job construction training program for authority residents when the authority remodeled its Sharpsville Gardens community building in early 2000. That building now serves as the learning center.
L. DeWitt Boosel, authority executive director, said the facility houses a day-care center as well as learning programs that include computer tutoring and an after-school meal program for children. Headquarters for the authority's AmeriCorps and VISTA volunteer programs are also there.
Study proposals: In other business, the authority received two proposals for an analysis of senior-citizen housing needs in the city of Hermitage and surrounding area.
The city picked the authority as its partner to develop some housing for senior citizens in the city but wants to research how large a complex should be built and where it should be.
Boosel said the authority has agreed to pick up the study's cost.
The proposals came from Barone, Murtha & amp; Schonberg of Pittsburgh, which offered to do the analysis for $10,750, and S. Patz & amp; Associates of Herndon, Va., which would do the job for $6,500. The proposals will be reviewed before a contract is awarded, Boosel said.

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