April 25, 2014

Elyria
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Grocery could become morgue

OBERLIN — A closed grocery store could find a second calling as offices for the Lorain County General Health District and maybe as the new county morgue.

Joseph Greulich of Crescendo Properties on Thursday asked members of a county health board subcommittee to consider leasing or buying the former Missler’s SuperValu on state Route 58.

He offered leases ranging from 15 to 20 years to the county starting at $169,312 per year. The deal would not include the CVS pharmacy next door, he said.

The 21,164-square-foot building has been vacant for about a month since Missler’s closed due to competition from the Oberlin Wal-Mart, Greulich said.

Lorain County Health Commissioner Ken Pearce said his agency has outgrown its offices on Murray Ridge Road, and he is looking to expand to a site that will be more accessible to the public.

The Oberlin location would be ideal, he said, given that Elyria and Lorain have their own health departments, Avon Lake residents are served by the Lorain agency and Vermilion residents use the health department in Erie County.

The former grocery store also could serve as a more effective distribution center for emergency medicine in case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack, he said.

It also could be refurbished to include a 10,000-square-foot morgue, Pearce said.

Lorain County Coroner Paul Matus currently uses various hospital facilities to store and examine bodies, and he said there is room for improvement. But building a new morgue in Oberlin could be an expensive endeavor because such facilities are expensive to equip, Matus warned.

In 1996, the health district entertained the idea of converting the Green Acres Children’s Home in Oberlin into a new health department.

But those plans fell through in 1998 because of a deed restriction on the land, said attorney Scott Serazin, who represents the health board.

Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.