Board appears ready to make a choice

January 8, 2015

The Advertiser-Tribune

Procrastination arguably contributed to the demise of the previous Seneca County Courthouse. Had the 1884 structure been maintained and updated on a timely basis, it likely would be in use today.

The building was vacated in 2004, and ultimately became a hot potato or a political football - take your pick of metaphors - before ultimately being razed two years ago. Not exactly an example of expediency.

However, it appears decisions regarding a replacement justice center - and whether it would encompass the probate and juvenile court or common pleas courts, and include Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court - could be decided next month.

This may not be a can that is kicked down the road, to use another metaphor.

The Seneca County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to determine the location of the justice center and whether it would be shared with the municipal court system no later than Feb. 10.

One option is to build the center in front of the Courthouse Annex. That would occupy about half of the green space created by demolition of the 1884 Courthouse, and potentially allow one secure entrypoint for both buildings.

Another option is to renovate East Tower - formerly East Junior High, originally Columbian High School - for use as court space.

No matter what commissioners decide, at least two groups will be disappointed: either those who prefer a new justice center, or those who favor saving the historic school, plus those who believe it's a misuse of funds to pursue either option.

But the board of commissioners appears ready to make a decision rather than procrastinate. And that is to be commended.