Garmann/Miller Architects, Minster, will be contacted to move ahead with plans for the county’s probate/juvenile court building after the Hancock County commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday for the larger of two options which will include the county’s domestic relations court.
Commissioners Brian Robertson and Tim Bechtol voted for a 27,000-square-foot building to be constructed west of the county courthouse and connected to the structure by an enclosed hallway. A single security entrance off West Main Cross Street will allow entrance into either the new building or the courthouse. It’s estimated to cost $9 million to $10 million.
Commissioner Mark Gazarek voted against the plan. He said during the budget discussion he “was never in favor of spending that kind of money and that hasn’t changed.”
He said when the commissioners attempted to get a one-quarter percent sales tax passed several years ago to fund several projects, which was subsequently turned down, voters were told the commissioners would spend $4 to $5 million on the probate/juvenile court building.
The tax was eventually approved by the commissioners on a continuing basis, with Gazarek voting against it, preferring a public vote instead.
He said he couldn’t support a $9 million project now, which is “substantially more” than what voters were previously told.
The new two-story county building will be constructed within the area where the existing probate/juvenile court structure, originally an 1860s-constructed church, is situated and include an existing parking “oval” used by the public now. The building would be constructed as far south as will be allowed, so there will be close proximity to the Findlay Municipal Building, too.