Liberty Twp. will save big by moving site of new administration complex

Liberty Twp. expects to significantly cut costs of constructing a new administration center and sheriff’s outpost by moving the planned location.

Trustees had intended to tear down the township’s existing meeting space on Princeton Road and build a new 15,000-square-foot complex to house administrative offices and the sheriff’s outpost. But the bill to prepare that site for new construction was a whopping $1.8 million.

So they instead chose to buy a site in an office park on Ohio 747 between Princeton and Millikin roads to build there, which resulted in the estimated cost dropping from $5.2 million to $3.8 million, officials said.

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At the original Princeton Road site, the township would have been forced to pay for installation of pieces such as a parking lot, sidewalks, common areas and landscaping. Those elements are already included in the new site where the trustees will buy and build.

“None of that is in the cost of the new building at (office park) Carriage Hill because we’re part of an office complex,” Farrell said. “We will be paying HOA dues, but we won’t be paying for all that shared parking. It’s a big difference. And of course, no land preparation costs.”

The trustees paid $954,000 to purchase land, and they plan to sell general fund-backed bonds to pay for the project. Bids are due back in 30 days.

“Moving from where our meeting center is right now was a have to,” said Trustee Board President Steve Schramm. “I figure we’re going to save close to $1 million with that decision.”

Trustee Christine Matacic said the township’s estimates for projects are usually “fairly close,” but she said, “until the bids are opened you never know.”

In the township where the population has quadrupled over the past two decades to around 40,000, and with future growth almost a certainty, trustees embarked on a facilities plan in 2016, making long-term plans to right-size their facilities.

Trustees considered purchasing the building in which they reside in now on Liberty Centre Drive. They thought they might be able to put the monthly $8,035 lease payments toward an outright purchase when the five-year lease was up. Negotiations with the landlord didn’t pan out.

Matacic said people have asked her why the township needs to build a new complex.

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“Well, we’re leasing right now, we need to find a permanent home so we don’t keep spending money on leases,” she said.

The township is hoping to move into its permanent home next March.

Another piece of the facilities plan encompassed the fire service and how many stations they needed to serve the fast-growing community. A piece of that puzzle fell into place last year.

The trustees paid $550,000 to buy five acres of land near the corner of Princeton and Cincinnati Dayton roads to build a new fire station in August. The intent is to replace Fire Station 112 on Stumpf Lane off Yankee Road.

Schramm said they are working on details for the new station and they hope to be able to bid that project later this year. He said they are still deciding what to do with the Princeton Road meeting space, they may keep it as a community room for residents to use or possibly sell it.

“We’ve had some discussions with people on buying it, but nobody wants to offer us what we think its value is long-term,” Schramm said. “That would still be a great potential location for a fire station or a centralized police station if we ever get big enough that we needed it.”

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