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Contract awarded to renovate Defiance County Courthouse


Work on the historic courthouse includes removing a third-floor parapet and replacing it with a mansard roof. The plan also calls for replacing windows.

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DEFIANCE — The Defiance County Courthouse is getting a face-lift.

The county commissioners have awarded a contract worth about $1.5 million to Midwest Contracting of Holland to renovate the 1870s courthouse’s exterior. The project is a scaled-down version of a proposal county officials considered, but rejected in 2013.

The third-floor parapet will be removed and replaced with a mansard roof. There will be some windows replaced, and the west entry tower will have a cupola roof added, among other work.

The historic courthouse was at risk about a decade ago, when county residents were presented with a plan to demolish the building and replace it with a new courthouse. Voters, however, rejected a 2006 proposal to fund that estimated $10 million project with a sales-tax increase.

The county then set up a committee to consider courthouse plans. In 2013, the committee was presented with a $4.6 million project to renovate the interior and exterior of the courthouse.

The committee rejected that plan because they believed the renovated building would provide too little space. 

Instead, the committee decided to just complete exterior renovations, Defiance County Administrator Sherry Carnahan said. Interior work is being handled by the county maintenance staff.

“When they did not approve the large project, they pared it down to just do the exterior work,” Ms. Carnahan said.

This is the second time the county collected bids for the renovations. In June, a request for bids only garnered one response, and that came in over bid. 

The county rebid the project, in December, this time garnering three responses, with Midwest Contracting well below its competitors.

County officials estimated the exterior work would cost about $2 million, so Midwest’s $1.5 million proposal is well under budget. The project is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 30.

Defiance County is not alone in Northwest Ohio in renovating its historic courthouse.

Wyandot County recently marked the completion of a $2.25 million restoration project of its 1899 courthouse in downtown Upper Sandusky. The repair and restoration of the top half of the courthouse was funded by a 1-mill, six-year bond issue that was approved by voters in November, 2013.

Hancock County also restored its 127-year-old courthouse. The project, which started in February, 2013, was finished late last year. That project, which cost about $1 million, was paid for with clerk title fees, the court’s special projects fund, as well as donations from the Findlay/​Hancock County Bar Association, Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, and individual contributors.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.

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