By Wayne Allen
The Ohio Department of Administrative Services held a bid opening on Wednesday for the sale of the former Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility (ORV) in Franklin Furnace.
A total of three bids were received. Richard Polacheck of Ironton bid $485,000 for the facility. Ohio Juvenile Academy and Corrections, LLC of Garfield Heights bid $605,000 for the facility and Sula Limited of North Ridgeville bid $267,000 for the facility.
In reaction to the bids, State Representative Dr. Terry Johnson said, “I fought tooth and nail to keep the ORV Facility open in 2011, and it pains me to see it still languishing in limbo. All of us in Scioto County knew it would be a mistake to close it, and with the further difficulties of re-purposing this specifically built facility, time is proving us right. We have a great facility in our backyard, and we need to get someone operating it who will employ some of our folks. Nothing cures more social ills than a good paying job, and I want to see that facility go to someone who will use it to better our area and not just scrap it to get what they can out of it.”
This was be the second time the state has put the facility up for auction.
In March of 2012 the Ohio Department of Youth Services rejected the only two bids received for the facility. The highest bid was $284,000, offered by MGNR Properties of North Ridgeville, Ohio; while the other bid was $117,558, made by National Scrap Corporation of South Bloomfield, Ohio.
The property has been appraised by the Scioto County Auditor’s Office at $11,520,550. The 36 acres of land, not considering the structures, is valued at $846,230, well above the highest bid.
In a profile of the complex, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services say it is 36 acres with 20 acres fenced in. The complex has 10 buildings and was built between 1996-2001. It is equipped with 242 occupancy rooms. The complex also houses a cafeteria, maintenance, laundry, education, medical and administration facilities.
In May of 2013, officials from Scioto, Lawrence and Jackson counties met with state officials to tour ORV to brainstorm possible uses of the closed facility. Johnson took a leadership role in bringing regional officials together for the meeting to talk about possible reuses of the facility.
When talking about possible reuses of the facility Johnson said, “If someone wanted to put a candy factory here, that would be great but, it was not built to be a candy factory. It would be smarter to use this facility for a similar purpose that it was constructed for.”
He said there have been a lot of ideas floated around when it comes to re-purposing the facility.
“The school has wanted this place, the folks that takes care of people with developmental disabilities wanted this place. This is a wonderful facility, a relativity new facility and it can be used for a lot of different purposes,” Johnson said. “At the same time, we also have great needs regionally. One of the things we don’t do well regionally is get together and talk across county lines. This is an opportunity for us to take a look at this facility and see what it has to offer.”
One of the notions that sparked the idea of a regional jail was the need Lawrence County has for a new county jail. The county is under orders of the state to find new jail facilities. The ORV was initially considered a potential solution, even though it is located in Scioto County.
According to information obtained by the Daily Times, now that the bids have come in they will be reviewed and evaluated by state officials.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.