Delaware County commissioners July 19 authorized a new round of bidding for the purchase of the former county jail at 20 W. Central Ave.

Unlike the first round of bids, the new bid specifications list a number of detailed requirements for potential bidders.

Two bids were opened in April; commissioners rejected them May 10.

At that meeting, Assistant County Prosecutor Aric Hochstettler said, "After the (bidding) advertisement ran, some concerns were raised by other public officials about the lack of additional criteria" in bidding requirements.

The original bidding process was based on price alone, he said, and the commissioners were "not in a position legally to negotiate on unannounced criteria."

New bids will be opened Aug. 24.

At the April opening, Michael Cox bid $156,000 and Roxeanne Amidon bid $10,500.

Cox later told the commissioners he and his partner in making the bid, Nick Mango, both are Delaware attorneys who would use the old jail as a law office.

Amidon said her company's plan centered on establishing a restaurant and inn with spa services in the jail residence and part of the cell block.

She said the building would require a minimum renovation investment of $500,000.

Commissioner Gary Merrell on July 19 said, "I think the commissioners have made it clear the building is an important part of the history of this area," and whatever direction the building takes is "important to us."

Requirements for bidders in the new specifications include:

* Providing a narrative summary for the bidder's planned use of the property, including but not limited to any proposed renovation, rehabilitation or remodeling.

* Providing at least three references supporting the bidder's experience and ability in owning, renovating, rehabilitating or remodeling historic structures.

* Providing the names and contact information for all consultants or contractors retained, or to be retained, for the purpose of evaluating, renovating, rehabilitating or remodeling the property.

* Submitting a business plan and economic-impact statement demonstrating the feasibility of the property's planned use and financial ability to complete and maintain improvements, as well as identifying the jobs that will be created, the tax revenue to be generated and any economic-development assistance to be sought.

Delaware County Historical Society records show the jail was built in 1878.

It is the third jail building at the site.

In recent years, the building has housed the Delaware County Law Library and offices for the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

County officials have said those offices will be moved to other county buildings if the old jail sells.

County spokeswoman Jane Hawes earlier said the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

County Director of Facilities Jon Melvin previously said the historical designation qualifies the old jail for tax incentives if rehabilitated.

The potential sale is part of a county effort to consolidate offices following construction of a new downtown courthouse and the acquisition of the Delaware Area Career Center's north campus off state Route 521 in Brown Township.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews