LIMA — Allen County Department of Job and Family Services may be getting a new home. The county agency submitted a request for proposals to the Allen County commissioners in order to find a 48,000-square foot building close to public transportation that could create further cost efficiencies.
Allen County Commissioners have yet to approve the RFP, and details could still be changed at their discretion.
ACDJFS is currently located at 1501 S. Dixie Highway, a 56,000-square foot facility. Director Joe Patton said financial feasibility will be the primary deciding factor during the bidding process, and changes in technology, such as increased reliance on phone interviews, has eliminated the need for as much as 8,000 square feet.
Business Administrator Josh Parker said the agency had gone through a similar RFP process last year, but the county did not accept any proposals. This time around, ACDJFS is asking for a 25-year lease-to-own arrangement. The county would acquire the property at the end of the lease.
“We’re looking for a permanent location that can satisfy the business-minded approach to filling jobs within the area,” Parker said.
The requested size of the facility, 48,000-square feet, is roughly the size of a large grocery store. Patton said the space may sound like a lot, but when considering the many public and private partners that utilize the ACDJFS and its location, it aligns with the work done by the department.
The county agency employs 110 people and sees an average of 140 people a day come through its front doors. Public programs ACDJFS is responsible for include Ohio Works First, food assistance services, Medicaid, adult protective services, child care assistance, prevention, retention and contingency programs, Ohio Means Jobs and welfare fraud investigations.
The RFP states that a parking lot of 250 spaces would be needed to deal with expected traffic. Patton said even 250 spaces can fill up fast if the department is hosting a career fair or other major event.
If the project’s current timeline is pushed forward, the county would review bids by September.
The RFP asks that bidders make the property available by Dec. 31, 2019, which would make it possible for a company to potentially construct a building or renovate an existing property. Parker said they are open to any option as long as the price is right.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.