Wayne Allen and Frank Lewis
PDT Staff Writers
At the Tuesday meeting of the Scioto County Commissioners, there was an indication of interest in owning the former Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility at 4696 Gallia Pike in Franklin Furnace to establish a regional jail.
The idea first came about when Lawrence County was told they need to establish a new jail due to the condition of their current facility. One of the options Lawrence County is considering is asking the state to reopen a portion of the Juvenile Detention Center so they can use it for a jail.
“If it can be worked out, I would rather Scioto County have it and we can charge all of these other people like we are doing now,” said Skip Riffe Scioto County Commissioner. “The jail as we planned originally is now making money. It took a few years but, it’s now making money,” Riffe said.
He said Lawrence County currently leases 10 beds within the Scioto County Jail.
Commissioner Doug Coleman agreed and said the county needed to jump on the opportunity.
“We’ve discussed that with the Commissioners,” Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said. “At the moment, we were thinking about helping Lawrence County out because there was a possibility that they might have to close their jail about a month or two ago, when they were going through all those financial issues. The Sheriff up there asked me if we would be able to take all of his inmates, about 30 or 40, and the answer is no, not at the present moment.”
Donini said the county was looking to contact Ohio Governor John Kasich to come up with an agreement to use part of the facility which had been closed by the State on Sept. 10, 2011.
“We never pursued it because Lawrence County never pursued it with us,” Donini said. “We’re not actively pursuing it. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got the contacts if I need to do it. But right now, we’re not actively making contacts and arrangements to do it.”
Donini did say he has population issues that seem to increase in the summer.
“I think Marty has bounced this idea around in his head. Marty’s problem is the female population that has grown over the years. His need, more than anything right now, is to find something to do with the female population,” Riffe said.
At the time the Franklin Furnace facility closed, it employed 333 people.
In March of 2012 the Ohio Department of Youth Services rejected the only two bids they had received for the facility. The highest bid was $284,000, offered by MGNR Properties of North Ridgeville, Ohio; while the other bid was $117,558, made by National Scrap Corporation of South Bloomfield, Ohio.
The property has been appraised by the Scioto County Auditor’s Office at $11,520,550. The 36 acres of land, not considering the structures, is valued at $846,230, well above the highest bid.
Charmon Shepherd of the ODYS said at the time, “The two directors of the Department of Youth Services and the Department of Administrative Services, the real estate office, have rejected those bids. By statute they can do that.”
Calls placed to update the asking price for the facility were not returned Tuesday.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or at email@example.com.