Plans begin for new transitional housing facility

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — A kickoff meeting for the transitional housing facility was held Tuesday between the Shelby County Commissioners, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and representatives from Garmann/Miller Architects and Engineers.

The facility, which will be located next to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, will provide a transitional treatment facility for inmates who have addictions and have completed a three-month sentence in the Shelby County Jail. The goal, said Sheriff John Lenhart, is for the person to get a job and then live in the transitional facility for three months. At the end of the six-month period, he said, the person should have structure and organization in their life, money from the job to help with finding a place to live and have a better chance of making it on their own.

Lenhart said 10 people have lost their lives because of overdoses in 2017 so far.The number could increase as toxicology reports are received.

“From our perspective, this can help save lives,” said Lenhart.

Primary contacts for the project include Brad Garmann, Chris Monnin and Kasey Corbet, all with Garmann/Miller, and Lenhart, Sgt. Karla Pleiman and Commissioner Julie Ehemann.

“They will be learning life skills as they live there,” said Ehemann, “such as cooking, doing laundry and personal hygiene.”

“During their three months in jail they will be working on their GED and getting their driver’s license,” said Lenhart. “Some of these people have never had jobs before. This will be a total lifestyle change for them.”

Garmann said he will need a survey of the project site and if any city of Sidney zoning requirements need to be met. Melissa Woods, assistant Shelby County prosecutor, will work with the city on the permit issue.

Pleiman gave the Garmann/Miller representatives a mock-up of what she and the sheriff anticipate the facility looking like inside. Discussion was held on the sleeping rooms, kitchen, dining area, laundry, lounge area, conference room and staff room.

They also discussed the outdoor area which Pleiman would like to include a covered area for bicycles which many of those living at the facility will be using when going to and from work.

Funding for the project will include $500,000 for capital improvements from Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services and a $200,000 grant from the state of Ohio. The yearly operational cost of the transitional treatment facility will come from grants and a fee charged to the offender.

A public hearing was also held Tuesday concerning the 1/2 percent sales tax renewal. No one other than Shelby County Engineer Bob Geuy was present for the hearing.

Geuy said thanks to the sales tax, the county’s infrastructure— roads and buildings — are in good shape.

“I’d like to see it continue,” said Geuy. “The road and bridge projects are working week. But construction prices keep increasing. Without the sales tax, we’d be in trouble.”

“We’re ahead of many of our neighboring counties,” said Commissioner Tony Bornhorst of the county’s projects.

“The state is focusing on more being done locally (with local money),” said Geuy. “We’ve been doing that for 20 years.”

Geuy said approximately $1 million a year is contracted out for bridge work. Between $400,000-500,000 work is done by the engineer’s office annually.

The commissioners also approved a contract with Rainbow Environmental Services for lead removal and mold remediation in the annex building. The total contract of $39,850 included $28,976 for work to be done in the basement and $10,874 for work on the first floor.

Bornhorst said the mold in the building isn’t the type of mold that can be harmful to a person’s health.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.