The fate of the Pataskala police building remains undecided, following Pataskala City Council's decision April 21 to reject a recommendation to sell it.

The fate of the Pataskala police building remains undecided, following Pataskala City Council's decision April 21 to reject a recommendation to sell it.

"I'm not ready to take a vote," Councilman Larry Meade said. "I think there are too many things unanswered."

Meade urged the city to avoid making changes and moving departments into other buildings, given the city's current financial constraints.

City administrator Timothy Boland said he made the recommendation to put the building up for sale because of the city's economic situation. Boland reported to council April 14 that the police building is in need of more than $132,000 in repairs, not including "repairs that will likely be required to fix the building's crumbling foundation, replace the aging boiler heating system and potentially replace the aging roof."

The report stated that to keep police in the building, the city would have to consider "phasing the repairs with annual funding provided" or "issue debt and complete all necessary repairs at one time."

The option to sell would include moving the department into City Hall, which would require at least two to three lessees to move and a loss of $38,000 to $48,000 in lease payments annually. Otherwise, the city would have to move the police into satellite offices, rent private space or build. Building, however, is not an option because the city already is struggling to provide basic services on its limited budget.

Council also had to consider what its residents think. At least four people spoke in favor of keeping the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Martha Tykodi, director of the West Licking County Historical Society, said the former town hall has the potential for another use and she thinks the sale could be detrimental to the community.

Dave Francis, co-owner of Mama Linda's Pizzeria, agreed.

"This seems like it is a desperation plan," he said. "Should you take the money and run or do the right thing and maintain that building, maintain our history?"

Local architect Dean Ramsay, who's working with Connie Klema to find ways to renovate and use the old building, said he thinks it would be an investment in the community to keep the building.

Klema is proposing forming a nonprofit organization to take over the building, renovate it and operate it, leasing space out for office and/or classroom space. She mentioned that she's courting the Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) as a potential tenant.

"We're gathering costs and financial estimates to see if the numbers work," she said.

Boland's recommendation to sell the building did not receive enough support to make it to the floor for a vote.

Also on April 21, council failed to agree on placing an income tax on the August ballot to help keep the city from falling behind financially in the next few years. Council members Bernard Brush, Larry Meade and Pat Sagar voted against the measure, with Barbara Triplett, Brian Raybourne and Chip Fraley voting for it. Councilman Kenny King had left the meeting prior to the vote.

lwince@thisweeknews.com