Mercy Mount Airy

Hamilton County / Provided

After more than a year of waiting for an answer, the group which owns the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital site is looking for new options.  

Mercy Health offered to give Hamilton County the former hospital building. The idea was to renovate part of the facility into a crime lab, replacing the county's current cramped outdated one.

But this week, commissioners agreed to decline the offer.

Spokeswoman Nanette Bentley says Mercy Health is already weighing other options.

Hamilton County administrators are continuing the process to take over ownership of the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital site.

Assistant County Administrator Jeff Aluotto says boundary, environmental and other surveys are nearly complete.

"We are looking to do this right," says Aluotto. "We're looking to do this in a measured way. In a prudent way. This is less from our perspective about what is out there in 2015 and 2016 and more about how we position this to be a strategic center for county government in 2020, 2025, 2030, moving out."

The Hamilton County Board of Elections will move to a new site in Mt. Airy after the 2016 election, thanks to a tie-breaking vote cast Friday by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

On January 27, the Hamilton County Board of Elections split along party lines on whether to move to the former Mercy Mt. Airy Hospital site, recently acquired for free from Catholic Health Partners.

Hamilton County Commissioners continue to weigh an offer to turn the former Mercy Mount Airy hospital into a new crime lab.

Catholic Health Partners is willing to give the facility to the county for free and the county coroner says the cost to renovate the old hospital would be a lot less than building a whole new crime lab. To make the deal cost effective, however, the county wants to move the Board of Elections out there as well.