The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 6, 2013

Jobs, Family Services seeking expansion

JEFFERSON — Commissioners on Tuesday gave their preliminary approval to an expansion project at the Ashtabula County Department of Job and Family Services (ACDJFS) building at the Donahoe Center.

The board met with ACDJFS Executive Director Patrick Arcaro and several of his staff members to discuss a proposed 11,463-square-foot addition to the existing structure, which is shaped like an “H.” The addition would fill in the courtyard areas on both sides of the building, plus extend the building to the east. A second, larger entrance and lobby would be created on the east side of the building, security would be increased and more exits created for the safety of staff.

ACDJFS has two other locations, Main Avenue and Lake Avenue, and the expansion will allow the department to consolidate its Main Avenue operations at the Donahoe Center, resulting in a net loss of about 43 jobs from the city.

The Lake Avenue JobSource services would be relocated to the building on Main Avenue, which the county owns. The Lake Avenue space is rented, and Arcaro told commissioners that “we could have built a brand new building for what we have spent on rent at Lake Avenue.”

The agency’s fiscal officer, Ron Smith, estimates that the agency will save $100,000 annually by consolidating the operations. Cost of the project is estimated at around $2 million, which includes a new roof on the existing building. About $20,000 of renovations will need to be made to the Main Avenue building before it can house JobSource.

Arcaro stressed that the payments for debt reduction will come from the agency’s budget.

“This consolidation will be paid for with ACDJFS monies, requiring no use of the county general fund,” Commissioner Daniel Claypool said.

Lee Ann Walters-Young, administrative services supervisor for the agency, told the board that consolidation will greatly enhance customer service because all of the agency’s human services functions will be at one location.

“People will be able to do all things at one location, that’s the overall end goal,” she said.

“The economies of scale gained in the consolidation do not stop at the money that will be saved,” Commissioner Joe Moroski said in a prepared statement. “In the past the agency had to tell people to leave one site and go to another because a particular function was being done at another location. This eliminates that.”

It also will eliminate the need for staff to travel between the Main Avenue and Donahoe Center locations, thereby making for a more efficient, cost effective and safer work environment for employees.

“In my time as director, the agency has seen a 33 percent decrease in its workforce, or 60 employees,” Arcaro said. “By having the majority of staff in one location, we can better utilize our existing staff without hiring any new employees, therefore eliminating an additional burden on an already strapped budget.”

Arcaro said the agency considered many existing buildings throughout the area, including vacant former retail space in both Ashtabula City and Township. Even the Ashtabula Towne Square was considered, but at the end of the day, an addition to the existing facility made the most sense economically and practically, he said.

“This is the best plan,” Arcaro said.

Kathleen Kinney, executive director of the Donahoe Center Corporation, said the agency will pay an annual $1 per square foot land lease on the expansion. The agency pays and will continue to pay 50 cents per square foot on the existing building. The land lease money is used to repair/resurface parking lots, lighting and other grounds amenities.

“They actually get that money back, so it is a really good deal for everybody,” she said.

Kinney said the expansion fits well with the corporation’s mission to make human services available at one location.

“I think it’s a really good thing. It’s what Donahoe Center was created for years ago, when this property was donated to us,” she said.

Commissioner Peggy Carlo said the board is aware of the impact the move will have on the city of Ashtabula as 43 jobs will move from downtown to the township. Commissioners said the important thing to keep in mind is that the jobs are being retained and clients better served. Carlo said the county has not had any discussions with the city about the need for a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) at the center because of the regional sewer agreement signed last year.

Commissioner Daniel Claypool said he wants the project broken down into numerous smaller projects so local contractors will be more likely to bid.

“There is no reason why any of our local contractors who are qualified could not do any of this work,” said Kurt Gowins, a project manager with Smolen Engineering.

Gowins said the entire project could be completed and ready for occupancy by the end of 2013, assuming everything fell into place. The next step is for ACDJFS to seek proposals from lenders.

“It has been one of my goals as executive director for the past nine years to consolidate the operations of the agency,” Arcaro said. “It looks like we are finally there.”

Text Only
Local News
  • james wyman.jpg BEAT OF HIS OWN DRUM Lakeside graduate is right at home as timpanist with Baltimore Symphony Symphony

    It was a Tuesday morning in Baltimore not unlike many days here in Ashtabula County this past winter. The weather was the story of the day. Talk of wind chill, snow advisories and reports of delays and cancellations filled the topic of conversation in this East Coast city.
    James Wyman, however was still able to get to work though. Well, kind of, that is.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • db monday Sunrise Service.jpg Local churches celebrate at sunrise

    People of all ages gathered at Oakdale Cemetery at the break of dawn Sunday to celebrate at Easter sunrise service.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • monday APL pic.jpg Donate-to-win will aid shelter

    The Ashtabula County Animal Protective League reports that it started 2013 nearly $60,000 in debt, but finished the year “in the black by nearly $10,000” and reduced expenses by roughly $5,000.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Madison man dies in motorcycle crash

    The Ohio State Highway Patrol Chardon Post is investigating a fatal accident between a car and a motorcycle that collided Saturday morning.
    Lee E. Mullins, 57, of Madison was traveling southbound on State Route 528, on a 2000 Suzuki motorcycle, approaching the intersection of St. Rt. 86, when a 2008 Ford Taurus driven by 36-year-old Kimberly J. Baney of Wampum, Pa. failed to yield at the stop sign entering the intersection.

    April 21, 2014

  • Spring is a time of renewal

    Spring is a time of renewal. A time for the ground to warm and the bulbs to bloom. Trees clothe themselves with a new coat of leaves.

    April 21, 2014

  • wd sunday race 1 .jpg Mad Hatters tradition continues with Metroparks

    Mexican sombreros, large cardboard cars and multi-colored hats were just a few of the unique headgear possibilities used by the more than 200 participants in the Grand River Canoe and Kayak Race on Saturday morning.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • wd sunday lakegg 12 .jpg Lake Shore Park Easter egg hunt draws hundreds

    Eight thousand eggs littered a portion of the parking lot at Lake Shore Park on Saturday afternoon as hundreds of children lined up to take their run at a full container of candy.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • wd sunday eggstrava 4 .jpg ADDA brings Easter fun to Ashtabula area children

    Children took advantage of the opportunity to hang out with the Easter bunny and have their faces painted on Saturday afternoon at Lance Cpl. Kevin M. Cornelius Park.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_7651.jpg School property could be given to N. Kingsville

    When North Kingsville Elementary School becomes a memory this summer, the property could be reborn as a village park, officials said.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • wd saturday drug raid 2 .jpg Good Friday raid nets drugs, dogs and money in Ashtabula

    It was not a “Good Friday” for two West 38th Street residents.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

Canoe Race and Ashtabula Easter Events
Good Friday Cross Walks and Easter Egg Hunts
Spring Comes Alive
Ashtabula Spring Cleaning
The Taping of the Teacher: A sticky Sitation
Saturday Fun in Ashtabula County March 22, 2014
American Red Cross Ashtabula County Heroes Breakfast
Rotary Club Dodge Ball Tournament
18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Geneva State Park
End of year weather extremes
Christmas 2013
Harpersfield Barn Fire
Route 11 Rescue Plymouth Township
Ashtabula Fire
House Ads
AP Video
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday