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Published: Wednesday, 1/7/2004

Input is sought on use of historic Lathrop House

More than 140 questionnaires were distributed yesterday during two sessions at the Sylvania branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Library seeking public comment on educational programs meant to be presented at the city s historic Lathrop House.

The sessions were presented by the Toledo Area Metroparks, which has been meeting with groups interested in the eventual use and location of the house across Main Street from St. Joseph Catholic Church.

The questionnaire suggests the house may be used to illustrate the daily lives of early Sylvania inhabitants, to show how early residents quietly risked everything to protect escaping slaves, or to show it from the perspective of an escaping slave.

Jim Speck, director of planning and construction for the metroparks, said none of those alternatives necessarily would be adhered to when a final decision is made on how to use the house in historical interpretations.

A diagram at the library also showed four locations to which the house might be moved.

One move would be almost directly north across a parking lot next to the house. Another site is at the northeast corner of the lot, and two other locations show the house to the east and located deeper inside Harroun Community Park.

The house must be moved, according its owner, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, for the planned expansion of St. Joseph s campus.

That move was nearly thwarted when city council declared it would take the house by eminent domain. But that move ended when voters rejected the attempt in the November election.

Since then the Metroparks has held meetings with representatives of the city, the church, and The Friends of the Lathrop House, a citizens group that has been fighting to save the home since the church bought the property more than two years ago.

After the questionnaires have been considered, an advisory group will hold a meeting Jan. 22 at the Sylvania Senior Center to present its preferred alternative, Mr. Speck said.

He added that comments from that meeting might be incorporated into a final plan for the house.



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