OSU extension seeks new space

·2 min read

Sep. 12—LIMA — New office space is underway for the Ohio State University Extension program. The Allen County Commissioners met with the OSU staff and Allen County Fair Board to discuss expansion. The program is presently located at the Allen County fairgrounds under the grandstand. The office space of 714 square feet houses around 11 staff members.

OSU Extension is a program that uses agricultural research for local communities. There is a program in every county in the state of Ohio. The most recognized program run by the extension is 4-H.

OSU extension area leader Jason Hedrick weighed in on the program.

"It is an outreach of OSU," said Hedrick. "4-H, agriculture education and family and consumer sciences are all a part of the extension. We are ag (agriculture) researchers also. The program is different in every county. In Allen County, we have a large children's garden. We have a lot of master gardeners that do a lot of educating in the garden. Questions from the community like 'Why is my grass dying?' tend to land in our office."

The staff has requested an expansion from the Allen County Commissioners as the program seeks to expand. Commissioners considered developing the current office or building a new office onsite.

In 2009, the state of Ohio required some counties to defund programs that were not mandated to be funded by the commissioners due to the recession. At that time, Allen County was not mandated to cut the OSU extension program but did cut funding to save money. Each county creatively came up with ways to save the program. In Allen County, the OSU extension office space was moved to the fairgrounds.

"At any given time there are six people that work in this space," said Kelly Coble, 4-H educator. "There can be five people over here. We have outgrown the space that we have currently. We are discussing some ideas we have to change this space. In 2009, we were zeroed out by the county and this is the space that we were given. We built back up to where we are now."

The Allen County Commissioners look forward to creating a new space for OSU extension.

"At the budget time last year the staff requested more space," said Allen County Commissioner Beth Seibert. "Now we are deciding how it will happen and what funding we will use. I think we had a good conversation today."