OTTAWA — Putnam County Commissioners are wanting to make sure the prosecutor’s office, IT department and veteran’s services have a building that is conducive to meeting the county’s needs.
The commissioners will use this year to research the cost of replacing parts of the existing annex building and another option of moving the offices that are currently in the building. The building is at 336 E. Main St., next to Huntington Bank and adjacent to the Putnam County courthouse.
“The heating systems are getting dated. Numerous systems are 20 years old plus,” said John Schlumbohm, Putnam County commissioner. “We have to study the cost of totally rehabbing the building, decide if the building is worth rehabbing or moving the offices.”
There are other issues with the building, including brick coming apart in a couple of places and the back entry where metal stairs are in what Schlumbohm said is terrible shape.
The building’s roof was replaced in the last 10 years. That is the only part of the building that is in good condition, according to Schlumbohm.
“The whole layout of the building is not conducive to a good business environment,” Schlumbohm said.
The building was built in the World War I era around 1919 as a working armory to house troops. Later, it was a meeting place for Vietnam-era veterans who would get called in to the building and get picked up by a bus and taken to different locations for basic training.
Vincent Schroeder, commissioner, said there also have been flooding issues at the building that was built at a low level.
“In 2007 when we had flooding the waters came up 2 to 3 feet inside the building. There are cracks in the foundation and floor and the water was coming up through the floor,” Shroeder said.
Tenants currently working in the building said it is cold and drafty in the winter.
The commissioner’s goal is to have a decision where the offices will be located and how they will proceed made by the end of this year.
Schlumbohm said the prosecutor’s office should ideally be located in the the courthouse where 95% of their work takes place, but there is not currently room. A possibility would be to move some of the administrative offices out of the courthouse to make room for the prosecutor’s office.
“There are a lot of scenarios we need to look at to decide what is best going forward for the next 40 years. We have kind of band-aided the building over the last 25 years,” Schlumbohm said. “There probably won’t be any action taken on the building in 2020, but we want a good road map to proceed.”
The building for the last 10 years has housed the county’s three offices. Other previous uses for the building have included a gymnasium and a dance studio in the 70s where baton majorette practice was held.
The commissioners also are seeking public input.
People who are interested in providing input on the annex building can stop by the Putnam County Commissioners office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the courthouse at 245 E. Main St.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.