Common Staff Writer
On May 16th state and local officials will be touring the former Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility in Franklin Furnace to talk about possible repurposing the facility.
According to Steven Alexander, Legislative Aid for State Representative Dr. Terry Johnson said invitations have been sent to regional and state officials to tour the facility and talk about the idea of making it a regional jail.
“This is going to be a brainstorming session to see what the options are about possibly using it (the facility) as a jail to cover multiple counties,” Alexander said.
Alexander said invitations were sent to area county commissioners and sheriffs in Scioto, Adams, Pike and Lawrence Counties.
He said officials from the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Ohio Department of Youth Services and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections are expected to be in attendance to provide insights and information.
Along others who have been invited Alexander said State Representatives Ryan Smith, Cliff Rosenberger and State Senators Joe Uecker and Bob Peterson have been invited.
Johnson has been working to organize a regional meeting to talk about this issue. “The state has shopped it (the building) around and nothing much has happened. What I’m trying to do is, look at the possibility of using it for a purpose that was close to what it was originally used for,” Johnson said. “I’ve talked with (Department of Rehabilitation and Correction) Director (Gary) Mohr and he has agreed to have a meeting. We’d like to have all of the county sheriffs, commissioners and possibly other state representatives or state senators from Adams, Pike, Lawrence and Scioto Counties attend.”
When asked if the state would be open to this possibility of the facility being reopened, Johnson said, “the state is definitely open. They would like to find a use for it. The question is what can we afford to do? We would like to find a potential use and a way to make that happen.”
Recently, the Scioto County Commissioners showed an interest in owning the facility 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.
Lawrence County currently leases 10 beds within the Scioto County Jail, but Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said the Scioto County Jail’s ability to help meet Lawrence County’s needs is limited.
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. 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.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.