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Published: Wednesday, 1/8/2003

The biggest wish on Wauseon mayor's list: more space


WAUSEON - A facility inside the city limits to accommodate sit-down dinners of up to 300 people, more space for the Wauseon Chamber of Commerce, and a heritage theme for this year's Christmas decorations were on a wish list that Mayor Jerry Matheny presented to city council this week.

He said the former Arkwrights furniture store at 139 South Fulton St. would be a good spot for chamber offices and large dinners, receptions, and other programs. The 17,250-square-foot building, which was once an opera house, is for sale for $140,000 and would need considerable renovations for such a use. Mr. Matheny said he was not suggesting that the city buy the building, but contribute to the effort if a non-profit group would form to rent or buy the space.

The Fulton County Fairgrounds, which is about three miles from downtown, rents buildings for receptions and other large events. But it is in Dover Township and Mr. Matheny said he wanted such a facility in the Wauseon city limits.

He said the chamber needs more space for employees to hold private conversations with potential business developers. The chamber has operated for decades from a one-room building by the railroad tracks that was constructed as public restrooms.

Mr. Matheny's proposal also included creating a city economic development director position that would be housed with the chamber. Fulton County has an economic development director, but the city has never had such a position. Mr. Matheny said after the meeting he would like to be considered for the job.

He also urged council to ask residents to decorate the exterior of their homes for Christmas in a style that would reflect their roots.

“We are diversified and it would be an interesting and joyful time,” he said. He added that if the idea caught on, the city might provide a “touring vehicle” for sight-seers.

Council members did not respond during the meeting to the mayor's petitions.

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