Plans for a community center in the remote Poconos swept away by vandals

Officials are working to transform the former Barrett Elementary Center into a community center for the township.

MOUNTAINHOME, Pennsylvania – Broken glass and graffiti are evidence of vandal damage to the former Barrett Elementary Center near Mountainhome.

“It’s very frustrating because we have plans for the building, and it just adds extra cost and time to our plan,” said Township of Barrett Supervisor Pamela Garsy.

Now officials are dealing with another burglary over the weekend. A group of about seven people entered the school. The cost of interior damage is unknown. Pocono Mountain Regional Police are investigating.

“We have plans for cleaning again – water hookups, heating systems, all that stuff, but now we have to come in and clean up,” Gardsy said.

City supervisors say this is not the first time the building has been damaged. Since the school closed years ago, all the windows in the building have been smashed and are now boarded up.

Garsy says the township is under contract to buy the property.

The plan is to move the township’s administrative office into the building and create an emergency shelter and community center.

“It’s a one-stop shop for people,” Gardsy said. “They can come over there, and hopefully we have other services across the city that can carry on with us, and then they have one place to go for whatever they need.”

Garsy wants people to avoid further damage to the property as she hopes this space can become a hub for the community.

“We just want to deter anyone from causing future damage because again it just adds to our time and cost to get it up and running, which will really be an asset to the community at the end.”

Gardsy says if all goes well with the sale, the first offices to move in after some renovations will be the township administrative offices.

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Jill E. Washington