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Proposals sought for building courthouse

Advertising is to begin today for bids on a new courthouse for the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals.

Lucas County commissioners yesterday approved asking for proposals for the building, which is expected to cost $6.4 million.

The site, at Spielbusch Avenue and Cherry Street, is being prepared with the installation of caissons by Schaedler Enterprises, of Britton, Mich. That portion of the project cost $76,500.

The three-story building will replace the courthouse, which is in the former sheriff's residence at Jackson Street and Spielbusch. Judges of the appellate court have said there has been a need for more space for years.

The L-shaped building will face what formerly was Orange Street, but is now Constitution Avenue.

The eight counties served by the court - Lucas, Erie, Ottawa, Fulton, Huron, Sandusky, Williams, and Wood - will share the cost of its construction. Lucas will pay the most: about $3.9 million.

Once the caissons are constructed, the area will be fenced, and general construction is expected to begin in the spring.

Commissioners also learned that the annual Children's Wonderland exhibit at the Lucas County Recreation Center was visited by about 66,000 people in 2000, about 2,000 more than the previous year. John Minear, county public service director, said the county's overall cost for the five-week display was $48,000. Expenses were $200,000, and revenue totaled $152,000.

He asked commissioners to consider closing the hall where Children's Wonderland is presented earlier this year to allow more time for workers to put it in place. Mr. Minear asked that the hall not be rented after Oct. 14. He said the move probably would cut overtime expenses by about $40,000. Overtime costs for the most recent exhibit were about $53,000.

Commissioners also approved an agreement with a software firm to market programs designed for the local criminal justice system.

Representatives of CCI-Maximus said the county will get 25 percent of any fees it receives when programs developed here are used in other locations. The county will get upgrades if CCI-Maximus develops them when applying the programs for other customers.

The firm has said the county could receive up to $250,000 in the first year.

The programs were designed at county expense for the Northwest Ohio Regional Information System and records such things as parking tickets, towed automobiles, and other police records.

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