WAYMART -- There was a collective sigh of relief for many people across parts of Wayne County and the neighboring areas after the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced that SCI Waymart, along with SCI Frackville and SCI Retreat will not close as part of state budget cuts.
"It's a good sign for the people from our area," said George Schaffer of Waymart.
Bruce Arnold remembers being scared as a little kid of SCI Waymart, formerly known as the Farview State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. But he admits the inmates with serious mental health conditions are probably the reason why SCI Waymart didn't close.
Now, he just hopes the prison isn't on the chopping block next time, whenever that day might come.
"Where else are you going to work around here," asked Bruce Arnold of Waymart. "There (are) very few places to work so it's very good [news.] I don't know what would've happened. I really do not know what would've happened."
And it's not just people in Wayne County who are relieved that SCI Waymart is staying open, plenty of people in Carbondale and other parts of Lackawanna County admit closing SCI Waymart would have been a big blow.
Kathy Andidora works in the family business of Carwanna Lunch on Salem Avenue. Her brother-in-law works at SCI Waymart.
"It was nerve-wracking," she said. "He is not a young man. And it would've been hard for him to start over."
On top of the fears for her family, she also knows the business would've been affected as well had all those prison employees been relocated.
"It's a big deal, Andidora added. "A real big deal! We have a lot of customers that come in who work there. A lot of businesses in the area would suffer."
Representatives with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections tell Newswatch16 it's still too early to tell where exactly all of those inmates and services from SCI Pittsburgh will go.