Hamilton County's new crime lab still planned for Blue Ash, but county picks new site

Posted at 3:51 PM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 17:23:04-04

CINCINNATI -- The Hamilton County coroner's office and crime lab will be just around the corner from a site originally planned late last year.

The reason: County Administrator Jeff Aluotto says construction will be faster at a new 8-acre location on Carver Woods Drive.

It's also a larger piece of land than the 6-acre site the county started exploring at 4300 Glendale Milford Road in December, according to a news release.

The two properties are on opposite sides of Summit Park, and Aluotto said the cost for the projects is about the same.

Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco previously said she'd like the new building to be located near a highway to give it fast and easy access for law enforcement; both Blue Ash locations are near the Pfeiffer Road exit off Interstate 71.

According to Aluotto, the Carver Woods Drive site was one of the first the county explored as a possibility, but it wasn't for sale then. So, Hamilton County put down a $50,000 for the Glendale Milford Road property; Aluotto said the county would get its deposit back.

Groundbreaking on the project is expected later this year or early next year.

Sammarco has been lobbying for new lab quarters for several years. The current building, on Eden Avenue in Corryville, is more than 43 years old. There’s so little space, she's said, that technicians often have to process one piece of evidence at a time.

She and her team thought relief was in sight in 2014 when commissioners unanimously approved accepting as a gift the former Mercy Franciscan Hospital facility in Mount Airy to open an expanded regional crime lab.

Those plans ultimately fell through due to cost reasons, then-commissioner Greg Hartmann said.