Miami County elections board plans move to Hobart Center

Public Health Miami County, in the Hobart Center for County Government in Troy.

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Public Health Miami County, in the Hobart Center for County Government in Troy.

After some back and forth, agency agrees with county commission; but move won’t happen for a couple years

TROY — The Miami County Board of Elections has selected its next home.

The move from the first floor of the county Courthouse in Troy won’t come in the immediate future, though.

That’s because the space chosen at the Hobart Center for County Government a couple of blocks away will remain home to the county Department of Development until its new offices are ready. The department will move to the county One Stop Shop, which is to be built on Ohio 55 west of Interstate 75 in Troy. Groundbreaking for that building is expected this summer.

The selection follows some exchanges between the elections board and the county commissioners earlier this year.

The exchanges began after elections board Chairman Dave Fisher’s comments in December that the board was looking to possibly lease space from a private property owner in Troy because it had outgrown the space the commissioners were providing at the Courthouse.

Fisher said challenges included having sufficient storage space for election equipment and space in the Courthouse to conduct early voting that continues to grow in popularity. Increased security measures required of elections operations also were a concern, he said.

ExploreEarlier: BOE says current space too small, not good for early voting

The commissioners also said they wanted to convert one room used by the elections office for early voting and other functions into multi-use so the Municipal Court, also located in the Courthouse, would have a jury room when needed. They also had asked the elections office to stop storing equipment carts in the historic Courthouse’s hallway.

The elections board discussed the new location Wednesday after a recent walkthrough of the Hobart Center space, at the corner of West Main and Adams streets. Fisher said he, elections Director Laura Bruns and Deputy Director Ian Ridgeway explored the space on the center’s first floor, along with storage space for equipment in the center’s lower level.

“The space, I think, is perfect for what we need,” Fisher said. Plus, he said, the security at that location would better meet the office’s needs.

Bruns said she, too, liked the space. Staff is working with architect Candace Goodall of Troy on an office layout plan, so work on creating the space for the elections operation could begin once it is vacated by the development department.

“I wanted to be able to have everything ready to go,” Bruns said.

Commission President Ted Mercer attended some of the elections board meetings urging them to work with the commission on finding a solution. The commissioners said they were not interested in paying for leased space. Fisher at one point said he had contacted a lawyer specializing in election law.

“The commissioners think that the Hobart building will be a more consumer-friendly area for our voters. One advantage will be that there will be off-street parking for voters,” Mercer said. Parking in the area of the Courthouse is limited.

The move is tentatively scheduled for late 2024 or early 2025, he said.

“The commissioners want to make sure the voting public has a place where access to voting is convenient and the board of elections has ample room to operate. This move will let this happen,” Mercer said.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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