North Vernon charity receives help from city

A North Vernon charity needing renovations to its headquarters received a financial life-line from local government.

The North Vernon City Council voted Monday night to give Wayside Inn $8,000 to help cover the cost of a new sprinkler system for the building, at 304 Hoosier Street. The charity, which provides food, clothing, toiletries and emergency shelter, is facing an August deadline to bring the building’s sprinkler and alarm systems up to state code.

This gift game about after the charity received good news from Jennings County officials. Coleen Malone, the head of Wayside Inn, says that the county is giving $5,000 toward the sprinkler project, provided that the charity could cover the balance. With the help of these gifts, she says that the project’s $16,000 price tag should be reached.

The alarm system update, which Malone says was bid at $8,042, remains. She, as well as local officials, are examining possible options.

Malone thanked the council members for their fast action. Wayside Inn made their presentation, and request for help, just two-weeks ago. In that presentation, Malone provided statistics that showed that, in just under two full years, Wayside Inn provided approximately four-thousand nights of emergency shelter for 130 people in need.

Councilwoman Connie Rayburn was one of several council members who praised the charity, noting its valuable work in helping those in need. The city’s gift is coming out of the council’s “Civic Interests” budget. Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Gerkin noted that this gift will bring that fund down to approximately $2,000.

Despite that, council members voted unanimously to approve the gift.