Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Court could leave Middletown


Judge says old facility crowded

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Ohio's 12th District Court of Appeals will soon make a ruling that has nothing to do with lower courts' decisions: It will choose whether to stay in Middletown or relo cate.

        The court has outgrown its space in the Middletown city building, Judge William Young wrote in a letter to Butler and Warren county commissioners last week. Expanding to another floor of the building is a possibility, the judge said, but may not be the cheapest or best option.

        “We feel that construction of a new facility is the most practical solution to our problem, especially when considering the unique requirements of a court operation including security considerations,” Judge Young wrote.

        The court invited both counties' officials and the Middletown City Commission to suggest sites for a 12,000- to 15,000-square-foot building, plus a full basement.

        The court will make its decision based on “sound business principles without political considerations,” the letter declared.

        Butler and Warren counties both are eager to make the case for their community.

        “It's like any business; we'd like to keep it here in the county,” said Butler Commissioner Chuck Furmon. “I want to make sure we've tried everything possible to keep it in Middletown.”

        Commissioners will proba bly suggest alternatives elsewhere in Butler.

        The Warren commissioners also are brainstorming possible sites, including county-owned land on Justice Drive, near where the new county building is under construction, and on Ohio 63 just west of Lebanon, said commission President Pat South.

        Warren County would be a more central location for the eight-county district, which also includes Brown, Cler mont, Clinton, Fayette, Madison and Preble counties, Mrs. South said.

        Also in the running is a corner of Western Row Golf Course in Mason, which owner John Zopff has been trying to redevelop for commercial and residential use. That effort is now embroiled in a lawsuit.

        “It would enhance the rest of the site,” Mr. Zopff said of putting a court building there.

       



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