Plain City is moving forward with the purchase of land to house a new village hall and police station.
At this week’s meeting, village council approved the purchase of a 3.14-acre property on Village Drive for $290,000. The vacant parcel sits between Lovejoy Plaza and the condominiums to the west. Last month, council authorized the purchase, contingent on the property appraising for more than the purchase price. Village Administrator Kevin Vaughn told council the property is appraised at $330,000.
Money for the purchase will come from the village general fund, but will be reimbursed out of a bond fund once the bond is sold.
Last year, the village was in negotiations to purchase the now vacant Lovejoy IGA building. At the last minute, negotiations fell through and the building was sold.
Village officials said they were pleased to find land to buy. In February, Mayor Darrin Lane said there is so much growth in Plain City that village officials were struggling to locate land to build a new municipal facility.
“We are in a pinch to find land to buy,” Lane said. “We are really looking to find a place.”
Currently, the village administrative offices and the police department are housed in three different locations.
Officials said the build space is inefficient and infrastructure on these buildings has become costly to maintain. Additionally, he said this includes heating and providing utilities to three buildings, along with many other inefficiencies. Officials have also said because of the age, infrastructure on these buildings has become costly to maintain.
Village officials have for several years discussed options for consolidating village operations, going back to the possible purchase of the former Plain City Elementary School building on Main Street. In 2017, officials explored the possibility of rehabilitating the current village hall and council chambers. The process was both expensive and cumbersome and was eventually scrapped.
Even so, Lane has continued to say consolidating village operations is a primary goal. Lane has said bringing all village departments and staff under one roof will improve efficiencies and increase customer service.
“Creating a space where we can all be under one roof allows us to share services, utilities, internet, and supplies which will ultimately save the Village money,” Lane wrote in a statement announcing the purchase. “More importantly, by housing Administration and the Police Department in one location instead of three locations, there will be more of an opportunity to collaborate and share resources.”
In addition to a village building and police station, officials are also proposing a large community room, council chambers and additional parking for meetings and events. Vaughn said the village has an agreement with the owner of the building to share use of the Lovejoy Plaza parking lot when needed.
Officials have said that with the new building, the village will sell the current buildings to offset a portion of the cost. Officials have not set a price tag for the new construction project.
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