By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Wood County is looking for a new home for its highway garage, and the Ohio Department of Transportation may have a solution.
ODOT has contacted county officials to gauge their interest in the state’s maintenance facility on Mitchell Road, on the southwest edge of the city.
So that leaves the county with three options: Stay put on East Poe Road, move into existing facilities on Mitchell Road, or build a new facility on county ground on East Gypsy Lane Road.
Last year, the commissioners and Wood County Engineer John Musteric discussed the possibility of moving the highway garage out to county land on the East Gypsy Lane complex. That location already has a fuel facility, and it has good access to county roads. It would also allow the county to sell the Poe Road land currently used for the highway garage – which should be desirable property on the north side of Bowling Green State University.
The county commissioners rejected the county engineer’s $2.5 million request last year for a new highway garage. However, on Tuesday, the commissioners approved spending $18,750 to have Poggemeyer Design Group study the two possible new sites for the county highway garage.
The existing highway garage, located at the corner of East Poe Road and Thurstin Avenue, is at least 60 years old.
“Things are showing their age out there,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said last year. “We’re at the point where we’re going to have to do some work there – or move.”
When constructed, the county highway garage was on a remote edge of Bowling Green. But over the decades, the open space around the highway garage, has been gobbled up for other uses – apartments, businesses and the university. So there is no land left at the current site for expansion.
The existing site on East Poe Road sits on about seven acres. Both the Mitchell Road and East Gypsy Lane Road locations have about 12 acres, Kalmar said. And both of the newer sites have easy access to U.S. 6 and rural roads, he added.
“We want to compare the two sites,” he said of the ODOT and county complex sites. Poggemeyer Design Group will be asked to examine the condition of the existing ODOT buildings on Mitchell Road. “What would need to be done to make it useable for the highway garage,” Kalmar said.
The county is considering the possibility of moving the engineer’s office to the same site as the highway garage. The engineer’s office is currently on the third floor of the Wood County Office Building, in the courthouse complex in Bowling Green.