Officials plan to move Violet Township's administrative offices from Rustic Drive to a new home at the Wigwam starting May 17.

Violet Township purchased the Wigwam retreat and its 63-acre site at 10190 Blacklick-Eastern Road in July for $2.7 million from Wolfe Enterprises, controlled by family members of late businessman and longtime The Columbus Dispatch Publisher John F. Wolfe.

Since then, officials have planned for it to be the new government headquarters for the township.

The day to enact that plan now appears set.

Township officials said the current administrative offices at 12970 Rustic Drive will be closed May 17 for the move to the Wigwam.

"Our administrative office will close on May 17 in order to move to the Blacklick-Eastern Road facility that weekend," the township's website states. "We will reopen on Monday, May 20, at the new location.

"All future correspondence should be directed to: Violet Township, 10190 Blacklick-Eastern Road, Pickerington, Ohio, 43147."

The web post also stated all township meetings will be held at the Wigwam, effective May 20. The township's telephone number will remain 614-575-5556.

After purchasing the Wigwam, officials said they planned to invest about $1 million in renovations to the site so it could house township administrative employees and government offices.

Township Director of Operations John Eisel said the Wigwam will allow for more room for employees and the members of the public who conduct business with the township.

"The move to relocate our offices at the Wigwam will provide us with considerably more space," he said. "The square footage of our new offices will be a total of 7,744 -- in comparison to our current approximately 3,700.

"It will allow for additional staff, flexible shared office space, additional file storage and spaces for staff to meet with customers that currently do not exist."

In addition to the township's administrative offices, the Wigwam features a 303-seat theater and 400-seat banquet hall. The two halls can be rented for community use and private events.

Township officials have long-range plans to develop 10 acres on the north side of the property for commercial use and to preserve 26 acres of wooded area along state Route 204.

Township Development Director Holly Mattei has said officials are exploring "all options" for the 10 acres to be marketed to developers.

"Our vision is for hotel and office and upscale restaurant uses," she said in February.

The township also might seek to relocate a current Fairfield County Sheriff's Office substation from 4 E. Columbus St., in Olde Pickerington, to the Wigwam.

Eisel noted although township administrative offices will be closed May 17, emergency services from the Violet Township Fire Department will remain available.

"The closing of our office to move has no impact on the fire department service delivery," he said.

"The only offices closed that day will be the administrative offices, which are building, zoning, development departments and the remainder of the administrative staff."

As for the current administrative offices on Rustic Drive, plans are for the township to sell the building.

"We have had some interested parties that have contacted us," said Darrin Monhollen, chairman of the Violet Township board of trustees. "(A sale of the building) helps us recoup some of the costs from the Wigwam."

The township purchased the Rustic Drive building for $350,000 in July 1998. The property is valued by the Fairfield County Auditor's Office at $411,180.

Monhollen said the township is in the process of getting a commercial real-estate appraisal of the Rustic Drive property.

"We'll certainly try to sell that property at a price that's best for the tax-paying public," he said.

As for the Wigwam, Monhollen said he supported the purchase last summer because it gave the township "the opportunity to save the entire event center from being leveled and replaced with a lot of residential homes and apartments."

"It allows us the opportunity to move our offices over without doing any major construction," he said.

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