Saving Memorial Hall

First Posted: 2/12/2015

LIMA — While the Allen County Memorial Hall may look lifeless now, efforts are continuing to revive the venue.

Bart Mills of the Council for the Arts of Greater Lima spoke with Allen County Commissioners Thursday, giving an update on an initiative to fund a structural study of Memorial Hall to learn if the hall can be salvaged and what cost would be involved.

“We really feel like we need to have an evaluation of the hall before we commit to anything,” Mills told the commissioners.

Mills has been in contact with Trisco Systems, a Lima-based building restoration firm, in regards to the study, which he reported would cost about $9,000.

“We’re raising the money among friends and neighbors,” he said.

The study is a necessary first step in not only knowing the full scale of repairs needed to the building, but also in potentially securing grants through such agencies as the Ohio Department of Development, the Ohio Historical Society and the Ohio Facilities Commission to fund those repairs.

“If we get to the point where we would decide to do something down the road, to look at grants from those agencies, they would want this from us,” Mills said.

With Memorial Hall on the National Register of Historic Places, extra care is needed in making any renovations, so Mills wants to ensure the entire process of evaluating the building is done correctly.

“There’s some frustration out there in terms of things not moving fast enough,” he said. “Trust me, things need to move slow. The building’s been there 100 years and it’s not coming down next week, so we have time to do it right.”

The commissioners were very supportive of the effort, pledging their cooperation in any building evaluation.

“If you do need to get in, we will accomodate that,” commissioner Cory Noonan said.

“You can give me 20 minutes notice, and I will make sure the doors are open,” Allen County buildings and grounds director Dana Sterling told Mills.

Mills hopes to have the funding for the study secured by the end of March.

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