Sheriff substation plan cut in Prairie Township


By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

At a recent trustees meeting, Prairie Township residents learned that a proposed sheriff substation will not join the community.

The substation, which was supposed to be located at 165 North Murray Hill Road, has been cancelled due to Prairie Township and the Franklin County Commissioners not coming to an agreement.

“In the midst of us making arrangements to acquire the building and lease it to the county, we were told the county is legally obligated to put this project out to bid,” said Tracy Hatmaker, township administrator. “Once the county released the RFP (request for proposal), the agreement was not what we originally discussed.”

During the initial talks with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the township had agreed to purchase the 8,400 square foot building for $690,000 and then renovate it. According to Hatmaker, once the renovations were complete the township would have spent approximately $1 million on the project.

The township planned on pursuing a 20-year bond issue to fund the building and the sheriff was supposed to stay in the building for 20 years, paying approximately $109,000 a year in rent. After 20 years the building would have been paid off and the sheriff’s office could have stayed or they could have left, either way the township would have owned the building and recouped their expenses.

“When the RFP came out, it was only for five years,” Hatmaker said. “We decided to not even bid on the proposal because we need more of an obligation from the county than five years.”

The township had already submitted an offer on the building that was accepted, however according to Hatmaker, that offer was contingent on an agreement with the county.

“That contract basically was voided because a deal was not made with the county,” Hatmaker said.

The township trustees approved a new contract with the sheriff’s office in April to continue service in the township. Currently, the township is paying the county $66,296 a year for one 24-hour a day seven days a week car and a second car that patrols 16 hours a day seven days a week.

Hatmaker said the township has not given up hope of bringing a substation to their community.

“The sheriff and the township still want to see this happen,” he said. “This may not happen in the next few months, but we hope it will happen in the near future.”

In other news, Prairie Township is working with the Ohio Department of Transportation to improve West Broad Street. Investing $400,000 in the project, the township is obligated to pay for 20 percent of the streetscape project cost, while ODOT would cover 80 percent.

“As part of the streetscape, we will have landscaping in the mediums,” said  Hatmaker.

He said the township will use salt tolerant plants. The township will also install an irrigation system.

“We have funding though a JEDZ to maintain the streetscape landscaping,” Hatmaker said.

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