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Mended Reeds purchase set for next week

The county took another step toward the purchase of the Mended Reeds facility on State Route 93 as the Lawrence County Commissioners appropriated a half-million dollars toward its price.

It is anticipated that the structure will become the new location of the Dennis J. Boll Group and Shelter Home, now in a century-old structure in the west end of Ironton that has been a continual drain on the county’s pocketbook.

In a Wednesday meeting, the commissioners agreed to take $500,000 out of its general fund to pay the lion’s share of the $800,000 price the county will pay to Mended Reeds, a non-profit private facility to help troubled youth started by David Lambert.

The county will pay back that half-million when it receives a grant of the same amount from the Ohio Department of Youth Services. The money is expected in the next 60 days.

The commissioners have scheduled a closing on the building next Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the law offices of Wolfe & Bentley.

According to the terms of the sale, the remaining $300,000 is to be paid over the next two years – $150,000 a year, according to Commissioner Les Boggs.

The move is expected to bring a savings of $250,000 a year, from a reduction in maintenance costs for the current home and from state and federal reimbursements when the county gains Title IV-E status for the group home and the juvenile court, Boggs said.

He expects that process to begin in July and to take six months for completion.

Larry Beuhring of Chesapeake was approved by the commissioners to conduct appraisals on the current group home building and its adjacent properties of the county garage and the armory.

He will also do an appraisal of the State Route 93 property, although Boggs said the county had an architect look over the property before the commission considered the purchase.

“Getting these appraised will make it clear to the public that we are trying to do what is the best for the taxpayers,” Commissioner Jason Stephens said in the meeting, whose date was changed to allow the commission to attend the annual Wheelin’ Sportsmen event today.

The commission wants to see the two-block long properties in Ironton developed.

“The commission wants to work with the Ironton Port Authority to sell to developers,” Boggs said.

In other business, the commissioners:

Agreed to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant of $585,091 received by the Ironton Metropolitan Housing Authority. The money will go for repairs at the various housing projects, including replacing entry doors, a natural gas line, outdoor lighting and a security system.

Agreed to pay the soldier relief fund $8,000.

Received the audit of the Appalachian Family and Children First Council.