County closes on Mended Reeds

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It’s a done deal — literally.

The Lawrence County Commission Tuesday morning closed the deal to purchase the Mended Reeds facility on State Route 93; meanwhile an appraisal of the Elizabeth Township property puts its value at $1.23 million, some $400,000 above its sale price.

“It did come out a good appraisal and we knew it would,” Commissioner Les Boggs said.

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The county will now move its Dennis J. Boll Group and Shelter Home, which houses delinquent youths, to the remodeled school building.

“It makes us extremely happy to get this closed,” Commissioner Doug Malone said. “It’s a good deal.”

Malone said he thought Mended Reeds would be out of the building by May 1. Boggs said he hopes the group home will be “up and running” at its new site by July 1, since the county has a goal of attaining IV-E status by January 2010 — six months later.

Boggs pointed out that buying the Mended Reeds building will allow the county to continue to properly care for its youth.

The Ohio Department of Youth Services had only certified the existing group home through the end of 2009 and that was because county officials were seeking a solution to their facilities problem.

Moving to the State Route 93 site will save those jobs at the group home that might have been lost if the group home were to lose its certification.

Moving to the new site will also allow the group home to seek IV-E status, thus getting state reimbursement for a large portion of the cost of caring for these youths. Boggs pointed out most of the youth at the group home are IV-E eligible.

“I feel like it’s a win-win situation for everyone,” Boggs said.

Malone said a solution to the county’s group home facility woes has been a long time coming.

“This is something we’ve been looking at since I’ve been on the commission,” Malone said. “We had an architect come in and look at different buildings and we just couldn’t come up with a better deal.”

Mended Reeds purchased the old Rock Hill Middle School in 2003 for $250,000 after the school district moved into new facilities but opted to sell the site because of government cutbacks and a tight budget.