Morrow County Commissioners met Wednesday with MCTC (Morrow County Transportation Collaborative) Director, Tim Maceyko, Job and Family Service Director, Don Wake, Asst. County Engineer, Bart Denison, Sheriff John Hinton and other county officials to examine tentative plans for a county transportation facility for MCTC.
A topographic survey and plans for a new MCTC facility were presented by Mike Williamson of Terrain Evolution and Architect, Jim Brucker. The location is on Young Avenue behind the Dog Pound on SR 42 north of Mount Gilead.
The project has been under consideration for several months. The need for an expanded facility for MCTC came up a couple years ago as MCTC continued to grow in the number of persons and transports and also the number of vehicles. Wake said they have attempted to move forward with a building at the present Co. Rd. 9 site, but have not been able to get approval from all those involved.
Williamson and Brucker estimated the project cost of site preparation, sewer, water and building on SR 42 to be between one and two million dollars. The current MCTC cash balance is $900,000 with current revenue of $1,000,000. Funding for the new facility would be arranged for at least the initial stage of building through USDA facilities debt services. The $900,000 would be kept in reserve to service the loan if needed and money would be used from MCTC revenues to pay for the project.
The commissioners have considered using the present Co. Rd. 9 site for MCTC, but they have also attempted to look at long term plans for transportation, updating the Sheriff’s facilities, jail and the Highway Department. Their rationale for the Young Avenue site off SR 42 is that there would be greater efficiency for transportation needs. The Sheriff’s office is the biggest user of the MCTC fuel station next to MCTC and the new site would give it much better access.
There would also be a cost savings for having an indoor garage for MCTC vehicle storage and maintenance. There would be greater integration into a County emergency and safety plan. This would also allow site preparation for a future Highway Department expansion.
Asst. County Engineer, Bart Denison noted that the present county highway department at the fairgrounds is limited in its space. Since the MCTC fuel station is presently used for many county vehicles, the county property on SR 42 by the Sheriff’s office would be practical to use for a hub for transportation, the highway department, fuel station and sheriff’s office.
Denison pointed out that long term planning is vital as Columbus and Delaware county growth reaches Morrow County.
There was also discussion of moving the EMS/911 Center to the location. However, concerns were also expressed that an emergency such as a tornado or terror attack could take out all these transportation and emergency facilities at one time if all are at one location.
Auditor, Pat Davies spoke up to say that caution and a conservative approach is needed for the county at this time. While the finances for the county have stabilized at present she said, “I am not seeing the numbers I would like to see for the county before venturing into a building project.
Denison spoke to her concern saying that the money for the MCTC project would not be from county operating funds. The money would be paid from MCTC funds and a USDA loan. He added that the MCTC facility would be the first part of a long term plan and the county needs to think long term. The Highway Department and other department additions could be done later as funds became available.
Commissioners did not make a final decision on whether to go ahead with the new facility at Young Avenue or at their present Co. Rd. 9 location.
Wake and Maceyko said that they can go with either a decision to make improvements on Co. Rd. 9, or on a new facility on SR 42, but the need for improvements and more space is urgent and a decision needs to be made to go forward.