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Published: Wednesday, 3/12/2014

Seneca commissioners mull courthouse plan


TIFFIN — Seneca County commissioners want more time to decide how to proceed with a proposed justice center shared with Tiffin Municipal Court.

Commissioners met Tuesday for the first time since a study was released last week describing the potential for the city and county to build and pay for a building for both the city court and the common pleas courts.

The justice center would be built in downtown Tiffin, on the site of the former Seneca County Courthouse, razed two years ago.

Commissioners briefly discussed the proposal Tuesday but took no action, with Fred Zoeller estimating a need for several more weeks “to thoroughly investigate the program.”

Mr. Zoeller outlined a possible course commissioners could take, starting with approving the $100,000 state-funded study commissioned by the North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments, followed by discussing financing and setting up a committee with city officials and others to work with an architect before making a final decision.

Commissioner Jeff Wagner, who voted in 2011 to demolish the 1884 courthouse, anticipates the project’s timeline will be among the areas of contention and said cost will be a consideration, which a study has estimated at $8.5 million.

“Just like everything else, the money is the stop or start,” said Mr. Wagner, who is not seeking re-election when his term expires at the end of the year.

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