GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Board of Commissioners announced Thursday the acquisition of four 16-bed residential care cottages on 7.8 acres, from the State of Ohio, for the price of $1.
“We are extremely pleased to have finally closed on the property today,” said Commissioner David K. Smith “The process to secure the cottages from the State of Ohio began well over three years ago. Since that time there have been countless meetings and conversations with elected officials and state leadership regarding the future ownership and use of the property.”
In 2016, the Gallia County Commissioners, joined by local business leaders, civic officials and then-Attorney General Mike DeWine met to discuss a variety of local matters which included the future of the Gallipolis Developmental Center.
As specified in Senate Bill 364, the property retains a deed restriction limiting the use of the real estate for mental health and addiction treatment only. Therefore, the Board of Commissioners and Gallia County Economic Development have been actively engaging with companies and entities that would best meet the needs of the community while satisfying the property use restrictions. Commissioners, Thursday, said that they were still in discussions with potential organizations to utilize the property.
“Job creation and retention are a priority of the board, therefore we intend to quickly put the buildings back to productive use in a manner that will benefit our community and create employment opportunities,” said Commissioner Harold Montgomery, “With the displacement of employees from the Gallipolis Developmental Center in recent years, Gallia County has a strong, drug-free workforce, trained in patient care which serves as an asset to prospective companies and organizations looking to expand to our community.”
Commissioner Brent Saunders added, “We sincerely thank Governor Mike DeWine, Senator Bob Peterson and former Representative Ryan Smith for their strong support and assistance they have provided to ensure that Gallia County gained ownership of the property.”
The 6,700 square-foot cottages, formally utilized as a part of the Gallipolis Developmental Center (GDC), were vacated in recent years as client populations reduced. Once serving as one of the largest employers in Gallia County, the GDC experienced layoffs in 2009 and 2012 due the client reductions at the center. Since 2009, facilities like the GDC have seen a reduction in clients due to efforts to enforce the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. According to ada.gov, the ruling required states to “eliminate unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities and to ensure that persons with disabilities received services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.”