Liberty Twp. changes location of new offices after price tag shock

A $1.8 million site preparation bill will change the location for the new Liberty Twp. administration center.

Trustees had intended to tear down the township’s existing meeting space on Princeton Road and build a new $5.2 million, 15,420-square-foot building to house administrative offices and the sheriff’s outpost. But the bill for demolition and site preparation on the 3.6 acres ballooned the bottom line. Township officials are working on new total cost estimates.

RELATED: Liberty Twp. will demolish the old administration facility and build anew

Trustees voted Tuesday night to spend $954,000 to purchase land on Ohio 747 between Princeton and Millikin roads for the new facility. The plan is to sell general fund-backed bonds to pay for the project.

Trustee board President Tom Farrell said the township will save about $800,000 to $1 million by buying the land and relocating to the 1.6-acre site. He said trustees thought the property the township already own made the most fiscal sense, but “not in a million years” did they expect the cost to prepare the site would be so high.

“You’re kidding me, you’re talking a half a million dollars for earth work,” Farrell said was his initial reaction to the cost that included $434,000 just to move dirt. “Disney didn’t spend that much in Orlando.”

In addition to the cost savings, Trustee Christine Matacic said the new location is more centrally located for the sheriff’s deputies to respond to emergencies and for residents who need to do business with the township.

“We’ve always talked about wanting to be as close to the center (of the township) as possible and also we’ve got the police substation there,” she said. “Having that location there, they have quick access to (Ohio) 129, 747 so they’ve got a broader access area so they can get to things a little quicker.”

As for the site they already own, the trustees are still mulling what to do with it. Matacic said they might keep it as a place the community can use, or it could be a future fire station location. The township staff renovated the Princeton Road building — which was once the township’s administration building — two years ago.

MORE: Liberty Twp. awards pay raises, saying it wants to keep key leaders

Trustee Steve Schramm said there is at least one offer to purchase the property, but he isn’t certain that is the correct course at this time.

“We’ll take a harder look at the long term plans for it. We’ve actually had some offers to buy it,” he said. “We’re not really sure that makes sense because it’s still a great location down the road for another building for us, either a fire station or a police annex. For the value we could get out of it right now, I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to sell.”

In the township where the population has quadrupled over the past two decades to around 40,000, and with future growth a certainty, trustees are trying to make long-term plans to right-size their facilities. A couple years ago they settled on a facilities plan that included the administration building and rebuilding the fire station and adding space for the service department located at Yankee Road and Stumpf Lane, near the Lakota school bus depot.

The long term plan also included the need for a fourth fire station and the township paid $384,000 for a parcel on Cincinnati Dayton Road north of Millikin Road several years ago for that purpose.

Recently officials announced they are changing that course of action with the $550,000 purchase of a five acre parcel near the intersection of Cincinnati Dayton and Princeton roads. The township plans to relocate the Yankee Road station — that was built in 1974 and was never intended to house full-time staff — and this location can better serve the northeast section of the township, plus should eliminate the need for a fourth station, officials previously said.

About the Author