LIMA — Pieces of Lima’s history are heading out through a back wall of The Lima News’ building on Elida Road, as a Kentucky company dismantles the newspaper’s inoperable printing press.
“The Lima News continues with our plan to relocate our business operations, most likely to downtown Lima,” said Doug Olsson, publisher of The Lima News and a vice president for AIM Media Midwest, the newspaper’s owner. “Part of the plan is to remove old equipment from the Elida Road building, which includes the inoperable printing press. That has been a major project and is nearly completed.”
Bruce Sample, director of operations for AIM Media Midwest, said the project should be complete by the middle of next week after months of preparation at the site.
Quality Construction Inc., of Hebron, Kentucky, began removing sections of the three-story printing press Wednesday. The company moved the sections with a large crane and pulled them through a recently cut hole in a back concrete wall. The heaviest sections weigh nearly 8,600 pounds. The wall will be reconstructed upon completion.
“They’ll be operating at an angle to get the headroom to get up to the top of the press,” Sample said. “They’re trying to minimize the cost of taking a bigger chunk of the wall out.”
Quality Construction Inc. will recycle the steel and other metals from the project.
The folder and reel stands for the press date back to the 1940s, Sample said, with the actual press units dating to the 1960s. The newest additions to the press were built in the early 1980s. The equipment moved from High Street to Elida Road when the newspaper relocated in 1995.
The press sustained catastrophic damage while printing daily newspapers in June 2017. The newspaper began printing in Fort Wayne at that time, rendering much of its current 52,850-square foot building unnecessary.
In May, The Lima News signed a letter of intent to move into the renovated First National Bank and Trust Building, 43 Town Square, pending the sale of its existing building.
Woda Cooper Companies continues to work on its $16.7 million renovation to the historic 12-story 1926 building downtown, which will include apartments on its upper levels.
The newspaper’s current home, 3515 Elida Road, remains on the market. It’s listed with Superior Plus Realtors for $2.6 million.
Crews already removed equipment from the Elida Road facility’s prepress and inserting areas, Sample said. Removing the press will leave a future owner of the building with a large open space to fulfill their ambitions.
“The cement was poured denser where the press is to handle the weight of the press,” Sample said. “Once they finish taking the reel stands out, there will be an indention of about an inch or more deep, which they’ll fill in with epoxy. Before long, it’ll all be gone.”