Friday, Aug 26, 2016
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Wyandot Co. raring to start courthouse redo

Restoration passed by wide margin

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The historic Wyandot County Courthouse will get an overhaul, now that voters have approved a 1-mill, six-year levy that will generate $2.25 million to fix the roof, the domes, and everything else that’s been neglected on the 1899 building.

THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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UPPER SANDUSKY, Ohio — By a 2-1 ratio, voters in Wyandot County made it clear how they feel about their elegant 1899 courthouse.

On Tuesday, they approved a 1-mill, six-year bond issue that will generate some $2.25 million to repair and restore the landmark’s domes, roof, and everything else from the gutters up.

All three county commissioners and a bipartisan team had promoted the bond issue, which will cost the owner of a $100,000 home between $30 and $35 a year for six years.

“We’re really excited that the voters supported us, and we can’t wait to get started on the project,” said Wyandot County Commissioner Steve Seitz.

The well-preserved courtroom in the three-story courthouse was used in the filming of the 1994 movie Shawshank Redemption. Bill Mullen, who helps organize local reunions of those involved in the film, was ecstatic the levy passed by a wide margin.

“We just let the people decide if they wanted to keep that beautiful building,” he said.

Mr. Seitz said commissioners plan to begin talking with contractors right away.

“We have a bunch of work ahead of us to get the ball rolling,” he said. “We hope to get the project together, have bids go out in January or February, and see work start in the spring.”

It’s expected to take 12 to 14 months to do the work, which will include replacing the leaky roof, repairing the copper gutters, and restoring the neglected domes on the courthouse, which sits in the heart of downtown Upper Sandusky.

Any money that’s leftover will go into a maintenance fund earmarked specifically for the courthouse, Mr. Seitz said.

“Our plan is to put that money away so we won’t ever get into this situation again, so we don’t have to come back to voters for $2 million,” he said.

Mr. Mullen said supporters ran a positive campaign and took it to every village and township event in the county during the summer.

“I think a lot of people were depending on residents to do the right thing, and they did,” he said.

— Jennifer Feehan

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