“It is already owned by the city and it has parking close by,” committee chair Mike Mearan said. “It is close to the municipal annex and the Scioto County Courthouse.”
He said the city would have to buy some of the surrounding land in order to complete the project.
The committee also recommended selling the former Marting's Department Store building for retail space and sell the current municipal building property for use as a hotel or motel.
It also advised selling other buildings the city owns, like the Naval Reserve building on Charles Street.
City Council does not have to act on the committee's recommendations, however.
The committee said a new building would cost about $7 million and be paid for through the debt retirement fund. The fund comes from property city taxes.
Mearan said the fund rate has been at 2.5 mills since 1950, which is the rate the committee recommended.
About two years ago, Dr. Herbert Singer, of California, donated the former Adelphia building to the city. He received tax benefits for making the donation.
Besides Mearan, the committee consists of Mayor Jim Kalb and businessmen Jim Robinson, Kevin Johnson and Terry Ockerman.
City Council President Howard Baughman appointed the members in July and asked them to help end the city building stalemate.
The city bought the former Marting's building from the Richard D. Marting Foundation for $1.9 million in 2002.
But a judge voided the sale over a Sunshine Law violation because City Council met in two groups of three with foundation members. The foundation then agreed to return the building and $1.4 million of the purchase price.
However, Kalb signed a contract with the foundation agreeing to forfeit the money if the city does not come up with a plan for a city building by 2008.
The city does not yet have a plan.
Vice President Marty Mohr has been in favor of using the former Marting's building for a city building.
He said he hopes the public's negative perception of the Marting foundation members doesn't affect a city building decision.
The foundation members are Clayton Johnson, Randy Arnett, Julia Wisniewski, Gerald Jenkins and Roy Payne.
“Why throw away $1.4 million and pay twice the amount it would be to renovate?” he said. “People are going to drive by that building (Marting's) and say they screwed us for $1.4 million.”
Estimates to renovate the former Marting's building have ranged from $5-7 million.
Mohr called the holiday period a sacred time, and said it would be a good time to move away from the animosity the building sale caused.
Mohr also vowed to support whatever decision City Council makes.
The committee met in public numerous times while doing its work and also visited several prospective city building sites.
“This project proceeded with an effort to keep an open mind and listen to the input offered by members of the community and various city employees,” Mearan wrote in the committee's report. “Hopefully, the end result will be a building that will bring pride and harmony to our community.”
When accepting the committee's report, Baughman said it looked at the facts and made some tough decisions.
“They are brave men,” he said. “They knew it wouldn't be a fun issue and they could be personally attacked.”