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Published: Monday, 10/22/2007

Seneca Co. commissioners move toward courthouse demolition

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TIFFIN Just days after Gov. Ted Strickland asked that Seneca County commissioners delay their plans to demolish the county s historic 1884 courthouse, commissioners this morning voted 2-1 to hire a Mansfield architectural firm to prepare bid specifications for demolition.

Commissioner Mike Bridinger, who has said he believes the county should renovate the old courthouse, voted no on the contract with MKC Associates, which will cost the county $60,000. The agreement includes additional expenses of $15,000 for an environmental assessment of the vacant building and an optional $35,000 for an on-site project manager if a demolition contract ultimately is awarded.

Pro-demolition Commissioners Ben Nutter and Dave Sauber both voted for the contract despite the fact that they said they were eager to hear what kind of financial assistance Gov. Strickland and the state legislature might be able to provide for renovation of the old courthouse.

Historic preservationists, who on one hand thanked commissioners for being open to the governor s proposal, were flabbergasted that the board would move ahead with the MKC contract.

I think it s the worst use of county funds that you could ever do, Rayella Engle, a member of the Tiffin Historic Trust and one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit aimed at stopping demolition, said after the meeting. They talk about fiscal responsibility but they spend money like this.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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