By JIM MAURER
TIFFIN — The Seneca County commissioners on Thursday approved a resolution accepting a study which indicates a nearly $8.5 million justice center would benefit the county and the city of Tiffin.
Commissioner Fred Zoeller said approval of the study, presented March 5 at the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, does not specify a location for the building, recommend an architect or cause the commissioners to spend any money now. The study was funded with a $100,000 state grant received by the service center’s Council of Governments.
Burgess and Niple, a Columbus-based engineer/architect consultant, completed the study. Discussion has centered on constructing a building to house two county common pleas courts, the clerk of courts, Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court, and possibly other county offices. It would be funded by Tiffin, the county and the courts.
The county commissioners, county Prosecutor Derek DeVine and Tiffin officials will meet to discuss the project. Fostoria officials will be asked to attend, too, although the city will not have any financial obligation.
Zoeller said construction of a combined courts building would be the first in the state.
“It’s a monumental step to move forward and save the taxpayers money,” he said. Fostoria will maintain a municipal court and office.
The courts and the commissioners have set money aside to assist with the construction cost, but some funds will be borrowed for the project. No construction timeline has been determined. If county property is used, the building would connect with the county annex building. The annex, where common pleas courts and the clerk of courts are now located, would then house county juvenile/probate court, which is located in the former public library building.
The former county courthouse, constructed in 1884, was demolished in 2012 and the property seeded and landscaped.
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