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Preservationists' pleas to save Seneca County courthouse fall on deaf ears

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Franklin Conaway, president of the Seneca County Courthouse and Downtown Development Group, makes a final plea Tuesday asking the Seneca County commissioners to not demolish the Seneca County Courthouse in Tiffin, Ohio.

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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TIFFIN – Despite pleas to save Seneca County’s 1884 courthouse from Gov. John Kasich all the way up to the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Seneca County commissioners remained resolute Tuesday in their 2- to-1 position in favor of demolition.

Democratic Commissioner Ben Nutter said after the meeting with courthouse advocates that he finds it ironic that the same governor who slashed funding to local governments would urge commissioners to defer demolition.

“I think it’s actually hypocritical of the governor who has decimated local budgets across the state to now come in and offer up a plan that would have us spend more money,” Mr. Nutter said.

Commissioner Jeff Wagner, a Republican and former state representative, said he supports Mr. Kasich “but he’s wrong on this issue … It’s time to move forward with tearing the building down. I look forward to opening bids [for demolition] next Tuesday and soon after awarding to the lowest bidder.”

Commissioner Dave Sauber said he remains supportive of a plan to mothball the courthouse at no expense to the county, though his reasons are more economic than in the interest of historic preservation.

RELATED STORY: Gov. Kasich urges commissioners to not raze courthouse

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