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Published: Tuesday, 8/5/2008

Seneca courthouse called 'opportunity'

The Seneca County Courthouse in Tiffin is among four historic buildings in northwest Ohio deemed "opportunities" for redevelopment by Heritage Ohio, a statewide preservation and revitalization organization.

Also making the group's just-released "Top 10" list of preservation opportunities were the Edgerton Town Hall in Williams County, the Marsh Hotel in Van Wert, and the Keller Building in Sandusky.

While the 1884 courthouse in downtown Tiffin is slated for demolition, Seneca County commissioners are working with the city's Architectural Review Board to see if any alternatives to demolition are feasible, including renovation by a private investor.

"We think it's the most critical piece of architecture in the entire county," Joyce Barrett, executive director of Heritage Ohio, said of the courthouse. "I don't think there is any architecture that rivals it in [Seneca] County."

Ms. Barrett said all the structures on the list are assets that make their communities distinctive, and could be used for community and economic development. Rather than the list being of just endangered properties, the point is to emphasize "what can be," Ms. Barrett said.

"That's what we see when we see that building," she added.

Among the top preservation opportunities on the group's inaugural list last year, the Cla-Zel Theatre in Bowling Green now is being renovated as an entertainment venue.

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