By Wayne Allen
August 9, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
While the Scioto County Commissioners decide what they would like to see do with the former juvenile detention center and current Second Chance Center, one commissioner is suggesting the county start changing rent for the facility if it’s to continue to be occupied by The Counseling Center.
“He’s (Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini) got some ideas (for the use of that facility). It’s going to take some money to make some modifications and obviously he will have to hire some additional people,” said Mike Crabtree, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners. “He (Donini) had some requests for additional beds from Lawrence County and possibly others in the area.”
Crabtree said Donini has not presented the commissioners with any kind of formal proposal.
According to Commissioner Doug Coleman, Donini is encouraging communication between the two boards of county commissioners.
“They (Lawrence County Commissioners) have not really committed yet. We’ve got to have a commitment from them,” Coleman said. “They are sending prisoners to other counties and if we were to reach an agreement they would bring those people here.”
Coleman said the commissioners have scheduled a meeting with officials from The Counseling Center to discuss the situation.
“If Marty can’t come up with the beds down there and we can’t do it. I think The Counseling Center should pay some kind of rent,” Coleman said.
Coleman gave no indication on what he thinks an appropriate rental fee would be.
Upon review of the 2011 contract between the commissioners and The Counseling Center for use of the facility, Assistant Scioto County Prosecutor Danielle Parker said The Counseling Center has an option on the building until 2016.
The idea of additional jail space came when the idea was proposed that Lawrence County consider purchasing the former Ohio River Valley Juvenile Detention Center in Franklin Furnace.
Earlier in the year, officials from surrounding counties toured the facility with the idea of possibly turning it into a regional jail.
Both Donini and Coleman have expressed dislike of the idea and noting it would cost too much to run the facility for any one, or multiple counties.
“It would break Scioto, Jackson and Lawrence Counties to operate that facility. There’s no way it could be done. Unless the state would give you a ton of money and I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Coleman said.
State Rep. Dr. Terry Johnson has been leading the conversations about the idea of turning the facility into a regional jail and does not think the idea is dead.
“Nothing is dead or gone until it’s dead or gone. That’s one of the things I’ve learned in my 56 years on the Earth. We just need to find at purpose for that facility. There has been significant push back on a regional jail, even though there is a need for a regional jail. I’ll keep looking and trying to find a good use for that (facility),” Johnson said.
When asked what avenues are being perused Johnson said, “I’m keeping all of options completely open. Anything we can use that facility for that would put people to work, I’m in favor of.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.