Relocation related to Municipal Court move from 5 N. Gay St. building
MOUNT VERNON, January 5, 2023 – The City of Mount Vernon entered into agreements to purchase four property parcels on and near the Public Square last spring to allow the Municipal Court to move to a new location, since the costs of renovating the Court’s current building at 5 Gay St. have become prohibitively expensive.
But the deteriorating structure, built in 1974, doesn’t just house the Municipal Court. While the Court will be moving to 3 E. High St. in the coming years, along with the offices of the City’s Law Director, the Police Department, also headquartered at 5 N. Gay St., will need to relocate as well.
The City owns 2.5 acres at 71 Sychar Road, just south of and across the road from the Hiawatha Water Park, that will eventually become the new home for the Police Department. All the department’s assets will be consolidated there.
“This location was chosen based on our projections for future growth,” said Mayor Matt Starr, “both the growth of the City as well as, necessarily, the Police Department along with that.”
Intel’s planned $20 billion investment in Licking County – two semiconductor factories employing 3,000 people, not to mention 7,000 construction jobs and perhaps tens of thousands more long-term positions tied to the undertaking – is expected to start making an impact on Mount Vernon within the next few years.
The Sychar Road location was originally intended for a new Fire station, although it was ultimately deemed unsuitable for that use. But it’s an ideal site for a new Police station.
“We make ‘house calls,’” Police Chief Robert Morgan said. “The majority of our officers are out of the office at any given time. We don’t have to be headquartered downtown.”
Morgan added that the Police Department’s move to Sychar Road will allow for the consolidation of all Police assets in a single location. For instance, the City will be able to re-purpose its facility on Greenwood Avenue, currently utilized as the Police impound lot, for other uses.
In addition to the downtown site at 3 E. High St. that will house the Municipal Court and Law Director’s offices, the City also purchased the properties at 16 N. Main St., 4 Chestnut St. and 6 E. Chestnut St., immediately to the north of City Hall at 40 Public Square. The existing buildings on those newly purchased properties will be demolished to make way for a new City Hall Annex to house various departments and offices.
Although these buildings and the one at 3 E. High St. will be coming down, the City is working with architectural consultants to assure that the new buildings’ exterior designs are in keeping with the downtown’s historical and architectural character. In addition, the current retail space will be improved.
“The City has received several comments from interested residents about its plans for these sites since the purchases were announced last spring,” said First Ward Council Person James Mahan, who sits on the committee formed to oversee this transition.
“We continue to welcome any questions and concerns from our residents about the relocation of the Municipal Court and these other important changes to the City’s downtown. We have to do this, given the condition of the building at 5 N. Gay St., but we have to do it right.”
Future press releases on this topic will focus on the many functions and responsibilities of the Municipal Court, and the plans for the new City Hall Annex.