The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

June 8, 2014

Water idea still afloat

Ministry keeping its options open for Laurelton site

— LAURELTON — There are no definite plans for a bottled water operation at the Laurelton Center grounds should the Just for Jesus Challenge Homeless Outreach Ministries establish a shelter there, although founder Jack Wisor said Saturday that he hasn’t ruled it out.

A bottled water business is the latest report circulating around a controversial homeless shelter that has been looking at the western Union County property as its latest location.

Bottling water is “something that I had started looking at here, and I did the paperwork years ago,” Wisor said of his Brockway location. “I mentioned that Laurelton would be a nice place to bottle water; the stream is right there,” referring to nearby Spruce Run. “But it’s not like that would be the main thing to happen for the ministry.”

He is not looking to tap Hickernell Spring, which originates on the Hartley Township property and has been available to the public for years, Wisor said.

Wisor contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection about tapping and bottling water from a spring on property he owns in Brockway, he said. He began the permitting process, which cost about $700 at the time, but then didn’t pursue it.

“It’s quite a process to getting such an operation running,” Wisor said. “It all depends on what and how much you’re going to do, if you bottle six bottles or 600 cases, whether you stay in Pennsylvania or go out of state. There are a lot of variables before you can actually get a permit.”

If the ministry were to happen at Laurelton, “I would consider pursuing it. Everything is in place for it,” Wisor said,

There is a treatment plant on site at Laurelton, which at one time managed water for the whole facility and was still operational up until a year ago, Wisor said. It takes water into different tanks, where it’s then treated with chemicals to meet DEP standards. Because it’s basically set up there already, a bottled water operation would create some jobs and make use of local natural resources, Wisor said.

Whether Just for Jesus will establish itself at Laurelton remains to be seen. Wisor said he is still only in a “talking phase” with property owner Gary Murphy, who is still pondering a decision on the matter. Wisor insisted there are no definite plans for the shelter, despite some indication to the contrary.

A letter Wisor provided to the Daily Item from Richard Gallo, the Indiana County area director for Yokefellowship Prison Ministries in Indiana, who wrote in February he was “excited about the wonderful opportunity that your ministry has in possibly acquiring” Laurelton, and had reviewed Wisor’s plans for “turning this facility into a world-class rehabilitating, training, homeless facility.”

Wisor said the plans are not specific to Laurelton but rather have been around at least a decade for such a facility to go in anywhere else he would be able to establish it.

“It’s going to come down to a decision that only Gary can make,” Wisor said. “Gary Murphy is very supportive of ministry and is all about helping humanity. That’s what he and I have in common. He wants to see humanity helped. Anyone who’s doing that in appositive reasonable way, he wants to bed a part of that.”

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