Former ODOT lot explored as new site for agencies

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — The North Central Ohio Solid Waste District is the latest government agency asking for space at the the former Ohio Department of Transportation property just north of the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution.

ODOT District 1 moved out of the property at 2000 N. West St. in order to consolidate its operations at its current campus on McCullough Street. Since that time, Allen County has had the choice to take full ownership of the property. But because many of the buildings on that site are approaching their estimated “end of life,” commissioners have been hesitant about officially taking control of the property without a long-term plan in place.

“It makes sense, but there’s a cost,” Allen County Commissioner Jay Begg said. “There’s a reason why ODOT is getting rid of it.”

NCOSWD Executive Director Dennis Baker met with commissioners Tuesday to discuss his proposal on a potential property use. Due to the organization’s current leasing agreement being in a state of limbo, Baker offered to build two new buildings for his agency in exchange for a seven-acre space on the lot. The county would then own the district’s buildings if the agreement were to be finalized.

The new buildings would be a 40 by 80-foot office building and a connected 80 by 100-foot storage space needed for household hazardous and electronic waste, Baker said. When enough material was collected, it would be shipped to the district’s processing facility in Marysville.

Baker said the ODOT property on the edge of Lima would be an ideal location for the agency as it was near enough to those who wish to use their services but far enough that waste materials wouldn’t affect quality of life in residential neighborhoods. Abutting next to the correctional institution would also open up the possibility of future corrections contracts employing prison labor for the district.

The NCOSWD isn’t the only agency, however, looking at the former ODOT property. The Allen County Engineer’s Office has already showed interest in using the space for material storage, and Begg said commissioners would want to meet with the county engineer to better understand how to balance the needs of the multiple organizations looking at the property to ensure any county investment into the property is worth the cost.

“There’s been a lot of things floated out there,” Commissioner Greg Sneary said. “We’ll just have to see what sticks at the end of the day.”

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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