Sandusky City Hall debate: To move, or not to move?

Candidates favor moving, but differ on approach to costly project
Andy Ouriel
Nov 4, 2013


People are supposed to be proud of their home.

But the seven Sandusky city commission candidates don’t feel that way about City Hall.

Each candidate voiced that dissatisfaction during a recent Register-sponsored campaign debate at the Sandusky State Theatre. For about 25 years, past and present commissioners have debated leaving City Hall, located at 222 Meigs St.

About a year ago, Sandusky’s chief building official George Poulos urged commissioners to not renovate the facility.

Poulos, who prefers to build an entirely new complex rather than renovate City Hall, estimated it would take about $6 million for necessary upgrades inside an almost 60-year-old building.    

Sandusky Municipal Court Judge Erich O’Brien also pleaded with commissioners earlier this year to make a decision. O’Brien’s courtroom in the building leaks and lacks proper security.

Read about O'Brien's court HERE

So far, the seven incumbents haven’t made a firm decision as to staying, leaving, tearing down or selling City Hall.

Here’s how each candidate, vying for three open seats in Tuesday’s election, responded when asked by an audience member if they’d support talks of moving or selling City Hall:

“I would seriously consider looking at moving City Hall from Meigs Street to downtown. It doesn’t make sense to keep putting money into a building that’s outlived its usefulness. We do need to engage in a discussion about moving City Hall.” — Naomi Twine

“It’s so expensive and difficult to renovate. We have expert opinions (stating that) our infrastructure at City Hall is beyond repair. It’s being held together by chewing gum.” — Dick Brady

“I believe we do need to renovate and move the location.” — Patricia Ferguson

“I’m willing to discuss anything. Whether I agree with it or not, I don’t know. I haven’t had all the facts.” — Diedre Cole, city commissioner

“The city building is deteriorating. It makes no sense to put more money into it. What we have done to the municipal court is nothing short of shameful. It needs to be addressed.” — Dennis Murray Jr.

“We need to engage in discussion on a potential relocation of City Hall. They have suggested it would take over $1 million for improvements into an antiquated building that has outlived its usefulness. It’s absolutely shameful.” — Scott Schell

“We ought to sell off where our current city building is and take the Sandusky Cabinets property (on Warren and East Washington streets) we own and rehabilitate that into a city office building.” — John Hamilton, ex officio mayor



Apex property is available!


We would be moving from one water front property to another water front property? Isn't that what it is all about to move us off waterfront property? Why would we want to do that and have to buy the land at Apex?

Whiskey Tango F...

Due to the incredible level of incompetence that our current officials and manager have shown, it is literally fiscal suicide to support ANY project! We are already broke, but we have money for new offices and comfy leather chairs? Hold night court at the county courthouse downtown, they don't use it at night.


Didn't they just spend over 30k for cameras and 50k for SPD upgrades? Why would you do this if you were going to vacate the building. Something tells me that building will be there for a long time.


Is it me or is Ferguson a complete baffoon? How do you renovate and move? She must have done some cheap drugs!

T. A. Schwanger


The desire of past present and future City Commissions to relocate City Hall BACK downtown is generated, not out of need, but out of a whimsical idea relocating downtown would generate economic development downtown and opening up the current City Hall site for a hotel, convention center or condos etc.

There is a lack of concrete proof the relocation of the County building over a decade ago remotely influenced economic growth downtown.

The political hogwash being thrown by supporters of relocating City Hall is nothing more than an attempt to convince the taxpayers of Sandusky relocating is the next best thing since the internet. While obviously the building could use new windows and other efficiency upgrades, the building shell is built with high efficiency brick and Italian Marble.

As akmed mentions above--money has been spent in recent years on security, police department remodeling, elevators, air conditioning etc.

Let's get back to basics.


There are many good ideas. Having everyone pull in different directions while our city hall falls apart is not one of them.

The cost of staying put has been exagerated. You don't need a major renovations to fix doors and windows and leaky roofs, or to do basic mainenance, reorganize, and get rid of clutter. You need leadership and effective management.


Quit spending taxpayer money on BS. End public sector union benes and you would have money.


Ahh, yes, sugar, lets blame the Unions. That argument is getting so old. Please, support your opinion with intelligent, well thought out facts.


Schwanger do everyone a favor and just shut up. You have no clue about anything you talk about including number 7 fire station. So please do us all a favor and shut up.


Schwanger hit a nerve?? Retired fire fighter. Now let me think. I wonder if you are the one that took an early medical retirement and was caught water skiing?

Now would be a good time for you to set Shwanger straight on 7 fire station.


There is some unused property at corner of Venice Rd. and Tiffin Ave. Maybe we could relocate City Hall there, eh?

AJ Oliver

Hey Retired - it is pretty cowardly to criticize someone from behind a screen of anonymity, don't you think? Yes, that's right, I'm calling YOU out as a coward. Use your name when you criticize, or "do us all a favor and shut up".


How about we move city hall into fire station #7. That was easy.


Would the former PNC bank on West Washington be suitable?