VAN WERT — Tonight is your opportunity to see the history being dug up in downtown Van Wert.
With a downtown rejuvenation on the horizon, this year’s Hidden Spaces self-guided walking tour has become that much more interesting.
“We try to get different buildings each year, but it becomes a little harder when you’ve done it for five or six years. A lot of the hidden spaces have been on the tour,” explained Main Street Van Wert executive director Mitch Price. “However, we have a huge downtown project going on with the Van Wert County Foundation, who purchased about 32 buildings. They’re calling it the Van Wert Forward and they’ve brought in groups to revitalize the buildings, so picking the buildings was the easiest part of it all this year. We want people to see these buildings before we renovate them.”
Price said this year’s tour does feature one building previously included on a tour but with more access this time around. Four buildings total will be included on this year’s map, the locations of which will be revealed when guests receive their maps at the start of the event.
The buildings are cleaned up to ensure all glass and nails are removed, but Price said the rest is left alone to show off each building’s natural state.
“People like the mystery and people just love history and the history of Van Wert and its buildings,” Price said. “We have some that may remember when it used to be this or that — they’re just drawn to it. It’s a great night for families, date night or a night to go out with friends.”
The annual event typically includes five buildings with unlimited time to go through each, but this year’s will operate a little differently. Volunteers will monitor groups to make sure no more than 10 people are at each station, and stations will be rotated each hour. Hand sanitizer stations will also be set up throughout the map, and masks are required.
“I think it’s important to get people downtown for the businesses that are open and for all business. We want people to see our efforts and what we’re doing, especially since with COVID, we haven’t had an event since February with the Chocolate Walk. We want people to know we’re still here and we’re still doing great things and continue to do great things.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.