LEWISBURG – There wasn’t an empty chair in the room at a commissioners meeting in Union County. Residents are worried about what they believe is moving into Hartley Township.
"We’re going to have pedophiles and other serious felony charges that people who are running through our town and there’s nothing we can do to stop it," said organizer of Concerned Citizens for Union County Pamela Hackenburg.
Just for Jesus Challenge Homeless Outreach’s leader Jack Wisor listed online that his organization is planning to open a facility in the old Laurelton Center.
Pamela Hackenburg organized the Concerned Citizens for Union County group, researching just what other communities think about this non-profit that has a facility in Western Pennsylvania.
"It’s not good. It is not good, they all tell us it is not something you want in your community,” said Hackenburg.
Anne Horton is in charge of a religious camp that is near where this shelter may move in. She’s anxious to learn more.
"It concerned me as to potentially what it could, it might do in relationship to our camps," said Wesley Forest Camp Executive Director Anne Horton.
The commissioners told dozens of concerned residents that they too don’t want this type of center to move in to Union County, but they don’t know just yet what can be done to stop it.
Hartley Township supervisors told Newswatch 16 a facility of this size could cripple them.
"Now we’re talking about bringing thousands in that are homeless to the community. And it’s definitely going to have an impact on our little community," said Hartley Township supervisor Stephen Buttorff.
Supervisors say they have hired a land use attorney, while 600 Union County residents have signed a petition to keep the facility out.
"It’s something that we fear for our children, they’re not going to have a childhood this summer, they’re not going to be able to just go out in the yard and play, and go play in the creek. It’s a small town,” said Hackenburg.
Newswatch 16 reached out to the organization planning the homeless shelter, but its leader has yet to return our calls.