ARCANUM — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to help the Village of Arcanum build a new town hall, thanks to approval of a $2.5 million loan.
However, there are still many hurdles to jump, according to Arcanum Village Administrator Bill Kessler.
“The USDA has approved us for $2.5 million,” he said. “We are waiting to see what bids come in at to determine what we will borrow and what we will contribute.”
The original engineer’s estimate for construction of the village administrative building was $1.5 million, but the state is requiring the village to build a tornado shelter, at an additional estimated cost of $800,000.
Kessler called the state’s mandate for a tornado shelter a “big shock.”
Though the loan gives the village some hope of constructing a new town hall, Kessler said if the bids come back in at $2.5 million or more, the village may have to go back to the drawing board.
“We will probably have to reconsider, then go back and cut some more, and we’ve already cut back a lot,” he said. “But that’s up to council to determine. We’re hopeful the bidding environment goes well for us.”
The loan, if accepted, would be earmarked to construct an approximately 7,000-square-foot building to house Arcanum’s police department and its administrative offices. The current administrative building does not meet modern accessibility, safety or health standards.
Arcanum’s administrative staff and police officers quickly vacated the former village building in early November 2017 upon the discovery of a bat infestation. An air study conducted also found mold spores in the building. The village spent more than $8,000 to have the bats removed and the building sealed from further infestation.
The cost to renovate the old building being prohibitive, Arcanum Village Council opted to seek funding for a new town hall. The village currently is running operations at All American Clothing Company, 1 Pop Rite Drive.
Kessler said he hopes to open construction bidding for the new building in late April or early May.