Commissioners discuss property for senior center building

Cary Ashby • Jun 23, 2018 at 2:00 PM

The Shady Lane Drive land that the Huron County commissioners plan on donating to Senior Enrichment Services (SES) was a topic of discussion during the commissioners’ meeting Thursday.

The commissioners said they will transfer the deeds for less than five acres to SES once the agency has established how it is funding a new building. The property is across the street from the parking lot of the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center at Norwalk High School and the NHS baseball and softball fields. 

“They (SES) think that’s plenty of land for anything they want to do,” Commissioner Terry Boose said.

SES isn’t a county agency, but a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Executive director Roxanne Sandles said the SES board is strongly considering the possibility of funding the building by a way other than a levy “because it would cost a lot of money to pay back a bond issue of that magnitude.”

Boose, during a separate interview, said “there is no guarantee there will be a levy.”

Original plans had called for a bus garage on the new property. However, Boose and Sandles said that option presently is “off the table,” but could be built later through a grant. SES has 19 vehicles in its fleet and employees 23 people.

“If they do a levy, the bus garage has nothing to do with it; it’s just the building,” Boose said.

Regarding the Shady Lane Drive property, he also said the Norwalk Fire Department informed the commissioners there needs to be at least 20 feet of space around the building to accommodate its trucks.

SES has an option to acquire the remaining three to four acres of land at the rear of the property within 10 years. Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Randy Strickler, the commissioners’ legal counsel, said the agency has to show the need to use the land for providing services for senior citizens.

“I don’t think they will ever exercise it,” added Commissioner Joe Hintz, referring to the option.

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