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Published: Tuesday, 11/18/2003

Metroparks asked for Lathrop House input

Officials of the city of Sylvania, Toledo Area Metroparks, St. Joseph Church, and other interested groups are to meet Thursday to discuss the future of the Lathrop House.

Voters decided Nov. 4 to end the city s bid to take the house and its property by eminent domain from the church.

At Sylvania City Council s meeting last night, Mayor Craig Stough said he has asked the metroparks to arrange a meeting to “establish the costs and challenges” that must be met to preserve the house.

The 1830s house was home to early leaders of the community and was said to be a stop on the Underground Railroad, serving as a sanctuary for slaves escaping to Canada.

The Toledo Archdiocese bought the house and its 3.7 acres in October, 2001, so St. Joseph could expand its campus across Main Street.

A schism developed in the community between those who wanted to preserve the house at its location and those who wanted it moved so the church could expand. In March, council took action to buy the property forcibly.

That action spurred others to file the petitions that led to the Nov. 4 vote.

If it is to be moved, Mayor Stough said a location must be found and the cost of moving it must be determined.

The metroparks has agreed to restore the house and operate programs there based primarily on the Underground Railroad era.

James Moan, city law director, said it is too early to know if the language of the successful ballot measure restricts the city s participation in efforts to preserve the house.

Mr. Moan said he prefers that at least a tentative agreement be reached and “a proposed solution be put against the ballot language” to see if it is permissible.



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