Commissioners Kill Proposed Crime Lab Site - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Commissioners Kill Proposed Crime Lab Site

HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - For years, the Hamilton County Coroner's office has begged for upgrades and more space, but after a decision by the county commissioners
Wednesday afternoon, they are once again back to square one.
 
Former Mercy hospital in Mt. Airy was proposed as a possible location for a new crime lab, morgue as well as house several other county
offices last year but commissioners say after much consideration, the property is not feasible.
 
"There are too much other buildings and too much other property that we don't have any use for,” said Commissioner Todd Portune.
 
Commissioners said while Mercy Hospital is willing to sell the 500,000-square-foot facility along with 68 acres of property for just $1
to the county. The proposed site would cost between $30 to $100 dollars to renovate. It's a space Portune said is too large for just the coroner.
 
"You really can't come up with the funds for public safety? It depends on your priorities,” said Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco.
 
Commissioners did offer alternatives like using buildings already owned by the county but splitting up the crime lab and the morgue in
two different locations. Sammarco said their new plans would turn the most efficient crime lab in the state into a headache.
 
"The idea of splitting up the crime lab from the morgue poses a lot of issues for us. Efficiency issues as well as transport and having
people separated,” said Sammarco.
 
All three county commissioners said they are committed to finding a home for the coroner's office but the Mt. Airy locations is not it.
 
"I understand it worked perfectly for you. Believe me, we may not find another building that is as perfect, I don't know, for you. But
the problem is the other 80 percent of it was not perfect for the county,” said Portune.
 
Right now, the site is vacant and Mercy Health said they will move on to other prospective buyers and keep their promise making sure the
empty building does not become a nuisance.

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