Delaware County Commissioners on Monday (Feb. 26) authorized Jon Melvin, facilities director, to publish a legal notice putting the historic Delaware County Jail and former sheriff’s residence up for sale.
“Per the request of the board, we will put out for advertisement to see if anybody is interested in buying the old jail at 20 W. Central Ave.,” Melvin said. “We’ll see how many bids we get. The easiest way to do it is put it out for sealed bids and see if we get any interest.”
Melvin said the county did not set a minimum price because the board of commissioners has the right to reject all bids.
“We’ll put a notice in the paper, and we’ll post it on our website,” Melvin said about getting the word out to the public. “It meets our requirements.”
Commissioner Jeff Benton was more optimistic about the interest the property will bring once it’s learned that it’s up for sale.
“It’s not whether, it’s how many,” he said. “There is some optimism on part of the city that this will (generate) a lot of interest. It’s a great location. It’s a neat building that needs work.”
Benton suggested using some of the “tools” of the Delaware County Finance Authority to assist in the sale of the property.
“That might be the next step if we get no bids this time, but we’re also not limited to this is it,” Melvin said.
Commissioner Gary Merrell said the selling of the old county jail is a conversation that did come up during the commissioners’ joint session Feb. 15 with the City of Delaware. He told city officials in that meeting that the county’s law library is currently housed in the old jail, but if the county no longer owned the property, it could be moved elsewhere.
“It could move. It’s still there as long as we have the building,” he said. “This is the conversation that we’ve had and again it’s still all hypothetical. We’ve talked about the logic of maybe putting it in the hands of somebody else that could make better use of the building.”
According to the National Archives Catalog, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 12, 1990.
The Queen Anne-style building was constructed in 1878 at a cost of $25,845 and designed by architect David W. Gibbs of Toledo. It was the third Delaware County jail constructed.
The first jail was a 12-by-24 log cabin built in 1814, and a second jail was constructed in 1850.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.