County officials are considering two locations to move the records.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Mortgages and deeds stored in a leaky subbasement of the Trumbull County Administrative Building will soon be moved to drier land.
County commissioners will select a new location for the records within two weeks, said Commissioner Michael O'Brien.
"They are important documents and we need to protect them and keep them in a confined, dry space," he said.
The records, some of which date back to the early 1800s, have been in the subbasement since May, when the county recorder's office returned to the renovated administration building.
Title searchers who work with the records have complained of persistent puddles on the floor of the room, which once held the building's boilers.
Source: Maintenance workers have not been able to determine exactly where water is leaking into the subbasement from the outside, O'Brien said. Water is also rising into the subbasement from city sewer lines, which carry both drainage from streets and septic waste, O'Brien said.
"We spent money to fix it, but a basement is a basement and you can't always fix a basement," said Commissioner James Tsagaris.
The commissioners readied the subbasement for the records by painting and installing new lights, and sunk $13,000 into a temperature and humidity control device to maintain optimal conditions for the records.
Water on the floor never rose high enough to soak the books of mortgages and deeds, which are stored on steel shelves.
And while it is not good to have water on the floor, the humidity control device protected the books from moisture damage, said Diana Marchese, who as county recorder is responsible for the records.
"I don't want anyone to think the records were at risk of being lost," she said.
Deed and mortgage records kept by the recorders office are all microfilmed, and any can be replaced from the microfilmed record within 24 hours, she said.
Locations: The county commissioners are considering moving the records to two locations: the building's former lunch room, which is in a higher basement, or on the first floor of an adjacent building, which had held the county jail.
"I'm very, very interested in each of these areas, as long as they are big enough to contain our records and meet our needs," Marchese said.
Genevieve Bauman, title searcher with Bauman Land Title Agency Inc., was especially excited about the possibility of moving to the first floor space.
"This is like the answer to everybody's prayers," she said.