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Commission helping community

The Marengo County Commission is always looking for ways to keep their citizens safe. Tuesday they had the opportunity to look into two very different methods of doing just that.

Susanna Naisbett, of Harriet’s House, was the first to come to the commission for help.

Harriet’s House is a domestic violence program in Marengo County that provides shelter for people who find themselves in undesirable situations.

Naisbett came to the commission to ask them to apply for emergency shelter grant funds as they have in the past. Naisbett said the county has been a huge boost to the program in the past by helping secure the funds.

“I want to say the county does not know just how much they have done for Harriet’s House by applying for these funds,” Naisbett said. “In the past four years it has totaled just over $160,000. This has become our second highest funding strength. We have a budget of $175,000 and this has become our second largest funding strength.”

Naisbett said the shelter was grateful for the commission because the funding goes a long way to keep those in the shelter safe and well fed.

“I do want to thank you because it pays for the food the women and children eat while they are in the shelter,” Naisbett said. “It pays for the rent of the shelter it pays for insurance and it pays for just about every operating expense we have. Having said that I would just like to ask you to file a motion and apply for the funds again.”

Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead said they commission was aware of the program and happy to lend a hand.

“I think we all know what this is about,” Armstead said. “We have done it in the past. I think we would all be glad to do this again.”

Parking at the courthouse has always been a problem and the addition of a parking lot with some other construction across the road is expected to solve a few of the parking woes. Unfortunately, to get to the parking lot from the courthouse people will be forced to cross a heavily traveled area on Highway 43. The commission felt they needed to look into a way to make this safer for pedestrians.

Armstead said this was something the commission needed to look into sooner than later.

“We’re trying to do the lot across the street and you are all familiar with that,” Armstead said. “The county has been instrumental with getting a project put together to get stop lights put across the street here like a school crossing where people can push the button and it will change the lights.”

Armstead said people would be using the crosswalk so the light is a necessary addition.

“People are going to be walking across the road over there if for nothing more than parking,” Armstead said. “It is real dangerous for people to walk over there so the county has put together a project that has their safety in order.”

Putting a light in the area is expected to cost $5,000, however, Commissioner Calvin Martin said this was likely a higher figure than the actual cost will be.

“That amount was figured on the high side,” Martin said. “It is going to be less probably. We just figured it on the hide side.”

Since the city of Linden owns the light the commission will have to work through them. Most likely, the city will have the light put into place and the commission will reimburse them.