The Milford Daily News
By Derek Mclean
Last year insulation hung from the ceiling of a decrepit two-door storage garage, built in the 1980s on the grounds of the town’s transfer station.
The garage, used by the Board of Health to store equipment, roadblocks, ladders, recycling bins and residents’ old paint, was badly in need of repair, said Board of Health Director Paul Mazzuchelli.
Repairing the garage was projected to be expensive, however, costing the town more than $10,000 for labor alone. So the Board of Health looked for cheaper means to complete the project.
Last week, renovation to the garage was completed, with total cost of around $3,000.
Last October, an opportunity to renovate the garage presented itself after the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office sent letters to town departments asking if anyone was interested in allowing inmates to do free work. The Board of Health jumped at the opportunity.
That month, inmates from the Worcester County House of Corrections in West Boylston came to town to renovate a portion of the garage. The only costs for the town consisted of buying lunch and coffee for the inmates during the week of service.
“All of the inmates were well behaved and well supervised,” said Mazzuchelli. “It was a delight to work with them.”
The inmates tore out and replaced insulation from all four walls and the ceiling and covered it with new plywood.
But the worn-down exterior of the garage still needed repair. The Board of Health reached out to the Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School. A six-student class from the Construction Technology Department jumped at the opportunity.
The students replaced all decaying wood along the walls with vinyl siding. They also installed vents and replaced the garage doors, in what turned out to be a two-week project.
Mazzuchelli said the project allowed the students “to get more experience at their trade.”
The town paid for the materials used. Materials to fix the exterior cost $1,900 and $950 for the interior. No money was spent on labor.
Mazzuchelli said the Board of Health, which runs the transfer station, tries to use its funds in the most prudent way. He said that by using the students and inmates, “the money that we saved can be used for other matters.”
He said the Board of Health is able to fund the transfer station by using town tax dollars and transfer station fees. He said that any money the department saves goes back to the general fund.
“There are other projects there that we would like to get done as well,” he said.
Finance Committee Chairman Marc Schaen said, “All departments work hard to save money and use innovative ways to do it. … Paul is very good at it and we are proud of him.”
For the inmates, the project allowed them to “benefit from the dignity and self-respect they gain from working throughout the day,” said Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis.
He said the program allows several groups, consisting of nonviolent and non-sex-offender inmates, to do work on various projects around the county.
“You get inmates going out and doing work in the community that towns don’t have money to do,” he said.
He said the program makes the inmates “less likely to become repeat offenders.”
“Everyone wins from this,” said Mazzuchelli.