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Major courthouse razing on tap

Contractor awaiting soil test results; could delay work 1 day


CTY demolition04p The 1884 Seneca County courthouse as final preparations are made for its demolition in Tiffin, Ohio on January 2012.

The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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TIFFIN -- Major demolition work was expected to get under way Monday at Seneca County's 1884 courthouse, although on Friday the demolition contractor still was waiting for results of soil testing performed Thursday.

Live video of Seneca County Courthouse, Tiffin, Ohio

Brian Baumann, president of B&B Wrecking and Excavating of Cleveland, said Friday that he did not yet have the results, which could delay work at the courthouse until Tuesday.

Mr. Baumann said he was contacted Wednesday by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which oversaw the testing and removal of asbestos from the courthouse required before demolition. The EPA wanted B&B to test the soil in the building's crawl space where some pipes had been removed.

Mr. Baumann said the EPA told him demolition could begin before the soil testing, but he preferred to wait until the testing was done and the lab results returned.

"I just want everything done because there are a lot of people watching," he said.

PHOTO GALLERY: Seneca County Courthouse Demolition

Click here for past articles on Seneca County Courthouse

Those keeping vigil at the courthouse had expected the building to begin coming down over the last few days, but only a set of wide steps on the Washington Street side of the building was removed on Wednesday. Stone and brick from the steps was then crushed and spread on the ground where a large crane was later delivered to the site.

Mr. Baumann said tearing down the massive, sandstone courthouse would be "a slow process." Workers will use a crane with a wrecking ball and clam-shell apparatus to take the building down "piece by piece," he said.

Despite the delays, Mr. Baumann said he expects the project to remain on schedule. A timetable submitted to county commissioners stated that building demolition was to be completed between Jan. 3 and Jan. 19 with demolition debris hauled away by Jan. 25 and the project completed by Feb. 1.

Lin Talbot-Koehl of Tiffin, who has been among the historic preservationists carrying signs at the demolition site throughout the week, said Friday that courthouse supporters plan to continue their vigil Saturday and Sunday.

County commissioners, meanwhile, are to meet at 10 a.m. Monday for the first time since demolition activity began. By a 2-1 vote, commissioners hired B&B for $373,000 to tear down the courthouse, saying the county cannot afford to renovate it.

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