Delaware County plans to create a "one-stop shop" for business owners, developers and residents just east of the city of Delaware after agreeing to buy the Delaware Area Career Center's north campus.
County commissioners voted unanimously July 27 to purchase the 64-acre property off state Route 521 in Brown Township for $1.77 million. The career center's board approved the sale of the property earlier in July.
The career center plans to move all of its students to an expanded south campus off U.S. Route 23 in Liberty Township within the next few years, freeing up the north campus property for sale.
County officials view the site as the future home of the Delaware County Engineer's Office, as well as the county's code compliance and regional sewer district's offices. The three agencies now share a complex on Channing Street on the city of Delaware's east side.
The Delaware County Regional Planning Commission and the Delaware County Sheriff's administrative offices, among other county entities, also could move into the 147,000-square-foot career center building.
Commissioner Gary Merrell said he views the plan to consolidate multiple county offices at the career center site and sell off unneeded buildings as a positive step for the county and its taxpayers. He said he thinks the DACC's north campus can serve the county for "many, many years to come."
"This is a project that I think really will benefit our county in a lot of ways," he said.
Merrell said the county likely would have needed to complete a substantial renovation project at the Channing Street site if it planned to keep the property. He said moving the engineer's office out of the city also would reduce the number of large trucks moving through the neighborhood adjacent to the complex.
Commissioner Barb Lewis said she viewed the plan to move multiple related agencies to the career center site as a "perfect fit for the county."
"It just makes a whole lot of sense," she said.
Lewis said she also was impressed by the condition of the building after taking a tour of the structure.
Merrell said while the center has "good bones," workers will need to renovate the site to suit the county's needs. County officials do not expect to take possession of the site until summer 2019 at the earliest and expect renovations to take about a year.
"It will require considerable remodeling," Merrell said.
Commissioner Jeff Benton said he views the effort to consolidate several county departments at the site as a positive step.
"I think it will really enable us to provide better customer service to the residents and businesses of Delaware County because they'll have a one-stop shop for so many of the activities they need," he said. "They won't be in scattered buildings all around the city of Delaware."
Benton said the county also should see operating-cost savings by reducing the number of buildings it uses to house workers.