The Dodge County Board of Supervisors during its Wednesday meeting unanimously passed a resolution approving a new location for the District 6 Probation Office, currently located at 320 N. Main St. in Historic Downtown Fremont.
The bond-funded project costs approximately $1 million with full renovations, and the property transaction of $350,000 will occur Dec. 15. Lon Strand, District 3 supervisor, spoke about how the move has been a long time coming.
“Mr. Chairman, I am guessing, historically, this (process) started about two years ago when a probation officer came to our committee and said that in the near future they would be needing more space,” Strand said directing his comment at Chairman of the Board Bob Missel. “At that point we started the search.”
Initially, Strand said members of the Board looked at the old downtown KHUB building as a possible location, with the knowledge that substantial renovation would need to happen. An architect was hired to see if the building would be a feasible location, and ultimately it was determined that it was not.”
“We found out that the building was not going to be a viable financial solution for us,” he said. “The space was far from adequate, plus the renovation costs were going to be too much. So we continued our search.”
The next property the Board locked its eyes on was the old Schweser’s building, currently occupied by Fia + Belle. An architect was once again contracted to analyze the building and help with a plan of attack moving forward, but public outcry ultimately played a large factor with the county not moving forward with the purchase.
“That property went to the wayside by means of citizens not wanting us to put that particular office in that particular area,” Strand said.
At that point, Strand said the Board stepped back and looked at other options. One option was remodeling a former doctor’s office, which proved to be too much a financial obligation. Another option was building an office from the ground up, but ultimately, the right building presented itself.
“This would be our fourth try at this – we’ve looked at several, but we have been serious about three and this is our fourth,” Strand said. “I really appreciate Rob (George) being involved with real estate, because he knows the pulse of Fremont and what is available.”
Strand said the new location is cost effective and should be a good fit for the probation office’s needs.
“I’m glad we were patient because this — I’m very confident — probably saved the county between $200,000 and $400,000 by going where we are going,” he said. “It’s a great location and it’s something I would like to move forward with.”
Missel explained how the move will benefit all parties involved with the District 6 Probation Office.
“The wonderful thing about this property is its size and its ability to expand in the future, which has always been a big piece of this,” Missel said. “There are growing needs with the probation office, and to remind those of you that aren’t aware, the probation office is an inter-local type of agreement with multiple counties, so their workload has increased substantially throughout the years. They were fairly doubled up where they were functioning, so this certainly has appeared to be a good deal for us.”