MOUNT VERNON — Using funds from the Ariel Foundation, the Board of Knox County Commissioners will buy 118 E. Chestnut St, a three-family rental property that borders the Knox County Service Center. The county will acquire the property for $175,000 and the Ariel Foundation will, in turn, pay the county.
“We looked at potentially purchasing that property a year or more ago but did not have the money to do it,” said Commissioner Thom Collier. “This partnership with Ariel Foundation makes that possible.
“I will note that the price went up significantly,” he added. “That's why we would not have been able to do this without the generosity of the Ariel Foundation.”
The previous asking price from owners Michael and Jennifer Farmer was $99,000.
Collier said that at least the residential portion, if not all, of the structure will be demolished. A cost is not yet known pending learning whether asbestos is involved.
County Administrator Jason Booth cited increased safety and security as well as maintenance and delivery space for vehicles as reasons behind the purchase. The East Chestnut Street parking lot behind the service center will be redesigned once the new parking lots on the north side of the street are completed.
Part of the redesign includes making the public parking area behind the service center handicapped parking only. A north-south divider separating the current parking area (west side of the lot) from the current delivery area (east side of the lot) will be added. The current driveway access into the delivery area will be widened to the east to accommodate delivery vehicles and Knox Area Transit shuttles. Plans call for a KAT shuttle stop on the street, ultimately eliminating the need for KAT shuttles to enter the service center parking lot.
The county will close on the property at the end of the month. The Farmers have 90 days after closing to relocate the tenants.
Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
Collier and Commissioner Roger Reed heard a presentation today from members of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) about the benefits of the county joining MORPC. In addition to automotive transportation, MORPC is involved with bike trails, energy and air quality, a commute program, federal legislation lobbying and support, and broadband services.
Jeffry Harris, president of the Knox County Area Development Foundation, told the commissioners last week that he favors the county joining MORPC. He reiterated that support today, saying that membership gives the county access to in-depth data and mapping that would be very helpful in planning and development projects.
He cited commuter and wage information as part of the data that would be helpful as he is constantly asked about those topics. MORPC's Mike Borger said that if MORPC does not have the information Harris needs, MORPC will go find it.
The county has three membership options:
- MORPC $16,427
- CORPO (Central Ohio Rural Planning Organization) $7,500
- MORPC and CORPO $21,102
Collier said the county is leaning toward becoming a member, but he and Reed will discuss it with Commissioner Teresa Bemiller when she returns from vacation. The commissioners will also talk with other local municipalities, organizations, and businesses about sharing the cost of membership.
Knox County 9-1-1
Laura Webster, Knox County 9-1-1 operations director, told the commissioners that the phone upgrade installation will be Oct. 22-26. User training is slated for Nov. 6-7, and the plan is to go live and switch over Nov. 12-16.
The center handled 1,644 911 calls in August, 10,425 nonmergency calls, and 4,178 CAD calls. CAD calls are calls that medical and law enforcement personnel handle.
The tactical dispatch team was on site for the Fourth of July fireworks at Ariel-Foundation Park, the Knox County Fair, and the Fredericktown Tomato Show. It was also dispatched to a barricade situation on July 12.
Webster also recognized dispatcher Donna Durbin, who celebrated 25 years of service with Knox County 9-1-1 on Sept. 12. Durbin has received several peer recognition letters and letters of commendation throughout her career. Durbin said what she liked most about being a dispatcher is “helping people and making them feel safe.”