Contract Inked

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Commissioner Bob Tebay has been opposed all along to the sale, and now, he has a new issue. It's been revealed that the deal will involve the elevator and stairway patrons use to gain access to the adjacent parking garage. The garage will remain in private hands.

"People using the hotel would be using the garage and the elevator all hours of the day and night. If someone's attacked in the garage, I feel it would be a severe liability to the county," explains Tebay.

Supporters are making arrangements to make sure the area around the elevator is secure. They say acquiring the elevator corridor made sense.

"The elevator is physically in that portion of the building, and I expect it to be a service to the citizens," adds Commission President Rick Modesitt.

When it was built some 20 years ago, Towne Square was envisioned as a retail complex. Now, it will mainly house offices serving the local courts.

In the meantime, the commission unanimously approved putting the vacant smith building up for bids. That's property the Blennerhassett Hotel wants for expansion.

"The Blennerhassett and Mr. Ross have clearly expressed their interest in the property. We want them to be a partner in this," says Modesitt.

There could be one stumbling block to the county's plans for Towne Square. Tebay indicated he plans to take the issue to the courts.