The New Carlisle City Council voted to not accept the old Belle Manor Nursing Home as a potential site for city hall. Bill Lackey/Staff

New Carlisle once again looks for city hall location

The city of New Carlisle is once again looking for a City Hall location after a proposed site fell through.

The Belle Manor Nursing home was going to be turned over to the city after Dayview Care Center and Belle Manor merged. The former Dayview center underwent a $5 million expansion that added 35,000 square feet to its location and then became the Vancrest of New Carlisle.

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The former Belle Manor would have given the city a new office location at no cost but New Carlisle leaders have decided not to accept it after learning repairs could be costly.

Council Member Ethan Reynolds said he never believed it was a good idea.

“I have actually been against the building the entire time,” Reynolds said.

That’s because he said it was presented without much information about the conditions of the property. If accepted, the city would have had to renovate the property.

“We need a new roof. We need a new boiler system … Asbestos is in the building … to clear that asbestos out, is going to cost thousands of dollars,” Reynolds said.

Once that information became available, the city backed out. The building will remain with Vancrest. Representatives from the nursing home didn’t return calls seeking comment about their plans for the property.

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“Nobody wants to do another Madison Street School mistake,” Mayor Mike Lowrey.

The city bought the former Madison Street School in 1998 after voters approved issues to purchase the building for $110,000. The plan was to make it City Hall but the property needed to be fixed up and the price was more than the city could handle.

Now the property sits vacant and deteriorated with a for sale out front.

“That building more or less would be given away,” Lowrey said. “ As long as the person interested in it would tear the building down or bring the building up to code.”

The old school has been vandalized countless times over the years. Reynolds called the Madison Street School a boondoggle.

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After that mistake, Lowrey said New Carlisle leaders have learned their lesson.

“We did what we thought was in the best interest of the city and its citizens by not accepting the Belle Manor property,” Lowrey said.

The city currently rents a doctor’s office on Church Street for $1,800 a month.

“That doesn’t have council chambers,” Reynolds said.

The limited space only houses the city manager, finance director, water clerk and the cashier’s offices. The city could holds meetings at the Smith Park Shelter House, which is often rented out for family gatherings and parties.

Dewey Brosey, a New Carlisle resident, said something must done because the current meeting location makes it difficult to attend.

“Some place to have excess parking right now. We are in the old cabin out in the park, that’s where we are going now,” he said.

New Carlisle seems like a village instead of a city, Brosey said, because it doesn’t have a City Hall.

The city has been looking for a permanent location for the past 10 years. The city has identified a few sites that seem promising for a new home base, Lowrey said, but council members will take their time before making a decision.

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