Commissioners discuss next step for new justice center

| November 29, 2017

COSHOCTON – On Wednesday, Nov. 29, the Coshocton County Commissioners met with Garry McAnally and Ken Staker, architects from Wachtel & McAnally, to discuss the next step in building the new justice center on the former Central Elementary School lot on the corner of Seventh and Walnut streets.

Due to a 1.4 million loss in budget from the state over the last six years and an annual loss of $640,000 because of the MCO sales tax, the county has less money to devote to the justice center, but they all agree that the county still needs to move forward with the project.

“We realize that this is an issue that’s not going to go away,” said Chairman Gary Fischer. “We know that we can’t just ignore it.”

The commissioners asked McAnally and Staker to attend the meeting so that they could discuss how much further the county could proceed with the project and what could be done to initiate the project. The commissioners said they have been contemplating completing an environmental study and boring into the property to collect samples.

The architects, who have been building correctional facilities for more than 30 years, said that they would like to have as many test spores and boring samples as possible before construction begins. They said the school district, the former owners of the site, may have an environmental report of the property that may save the county money if it’s already been done. The commissioners will look into that possibility.

One concern for McAnally and Staker is the foundation of the property and if the basement of the former school was filled and compounded at the time of demolition. They also want to do some schematics with the sheriff’s office and the county prosecutor to have a better understanding of what the new justice center would require. After that, the architects will be able to announce an estimate of the cost of the project.

Test spores could cost between $5,500 and $7,500. Phase one of the environmental studies could cost $2,500 and $5,000 and phase two could be anywhere between $7,500 to $10,000, depending on what is found in phase one.

The proposed building would feature a central command station with pods surrounding it. There will be approximately 135 beds per pod.

The architects plan to get proposals for borings as soon as possible and hopefully complete a survey of the site to see where utilities are and if there are any easements that could hamper construction.

The commissioners also met with Pastor Joe Sanders of the First Baptist Church to discuss the medical marijuana issue. Sanders explained that he didn’t want to see medical marijuana become recreational marijuana and that he has spoken to many doctors who said that marijuana has no medical benefits.

“I’m just afraid that marijuana will one day be as common to get as beer, wine, or hard liquor,” said Sanders.

There are currently two applications with the state for potential medical marijuana growing facilities in the county. The commissioners told Sanders that the growing and selling of medical marijuana was out of their jurisdiction as the state of Ohio has jurisdiction over it.

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Category: Government

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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