Sandusky seeks stimulus funds for city hall

SANDUSKY Maybe residents won't have to pay for the city hall's relocation after all.
May 24, 2010



Maybe residents won't have to pay for the city hall's relocation after all.

The city applied for $12 million in stimulus funds for the new city hall, according to city officials and, a government Web site tracking submissions.

It's one of 15 projects the city submitted, totaling more than $44 million.

Scott Schell, the city's economic development specialist, said whether the city gets any money for city hall won't affect the process of choosing the building's location.

"It would certainly simplify things (in terms of financing it)," he said. "But whether we renovate an old building or build new, getting the money wouldn't alter our approach."

The city received two proposals for the new city hall.

One proposal, from Vintage Development, wants to renovate the former F.W. Woolworth Building on Columbus Avenue, just north of Washington Park. Vintage, an offshoot of the Willoughby-based Marous Brothers, owns the building.

The other proposal, from Hoty Builders, would construct a new city hall at the Jackson Street parking lot at the corners of Jackson Street, West Market Street and West Water Street behind the Sandusky State Theatre.

Both developers are proposing similar costs, with their dollar-per-square-footage estimates nearly identical. The cost will be somewhere around $10 million, according to the proposals. Because officials had to make a general application early in the stimulus process, they submitted their proposal with an initial estimate of $12 million.

If the project is selected, the government would ask for a more specific proposal at a later date, city manager Matt Kline said.

Officials said the next step is to form a committee to examine both concepts. That committee could include city staff, city commissioners and maybe even some residents, Schell and Kline said in February.

"We hope to get direction from the commission about that committee, hopefully by the end of this week," Schell said.

In an e-mail Monday, Kathryn McKillips, the city's director of engineering services, said the city didn't get any funding for its seven transportation projects.

But she didn't return an e-mail asking which projects were considered transportation projects and didn't return phone calls or a message left with her office.

Although the government Web site lists the City Hall Relocation Project as "Infrastructure General/Other," it's not known whether it was one of the transportation projects.

In total, more than 22,600 projects were submitted in Ohio, according to the government's Web site.

Schell said the city will proceed with all projects as if they weren't going to get any stimulus money.

"We're certainly not going to stand back and hope we win the lottery," Schell said.