Q&A WITH ANDREW KALNOW
Q: What is your reaction to the Commissioners’ vote today?:
A: I am extremely disappointed. I believe a great opportunity for a multi-faceted win-win for the community has been squandered. When there is a local project with such a huge magnitude as the proposed joint justice center, a $10 million or so building project in the heart of our county seat that has so many repercussions, it is hugely beneficial that government officials optimize for the greater good across multiple fronts. These include not just preservation of invaluable green space, architectural aesthetics, and sensitivity to a community’s heritage, but also the impact on local economic development , community re-vitalization, and enhancement to the tax-base from getting the most out of a big dollar, in the heart-of-the-town pivotal building project.
The commissioners have approached this project from the start merely as a justice system building project without giving proper weighting to the other very meaningful considerations and benefits to the community. I suspect many people in the community feel that this is a major failing, and even one that will haunt Tiffin and Seneca County for generations.
Q: However, is the story truly over? Is the die fully cast?
A: I do not believe so.
If citizens truly want to preserve the precious green space on the old courthouse square (and without a building blocking the sight lines to the beautiful historical facades of downtown), if citizens want a re-purposing of the East Tower as a majestic public building, if citizens desire a revitalization jolt to downtown activity and development that brings economic benefits to all in the County that creates a higher tax base to properties and other tax revenue…. Then, citizens need to step forward to voice their opinion and join a coalition of the community. There are things that can be done.
Q: What other feasible ideas are there for the East Tower other than use as a justice center?
A: The highest and best use of the East Tower is by far as a justice center or some other important government or public building. It has the stature and prominence that one wants to see, in particular, for a justice center.
$10 million building project opportunities don’t come by Tiffin and Seneca County every day. It is critical that government officials optimize these opportunities.