LIMA —A $1 million appropriation in Ohio’s capital budget could be the catalyst for the restoration of Memorial Hall, signaling to developers that lawmakers are willing to partially finance a renovation project that repurposes the historic property.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed the $3.5 billion capital budget Tuesday, providing $11 million in state funding for various projects in Allen County like Memorial Hall, a community pool in Lima and Apollo Career Center’s growing public safety program, which needs a new building.
The $1 million appropriation for Memorial Hall could be the first of several rounds of state funding to support a restoration project, but there are no firm plans for the property just yet.
There are no plans to demolish it either, according to Senate President Matt Huffman, who helped secure the funding.
“It’s the beginning of what could be a project in the future,” Huffman said.
The Allen County commissioners are now waiting to see if a developer brings forward a plan that would not only restore Memorial Hall but establish a practical use for the property.
The commissioners voted earlier this month on a contract to upgrade the roof, which Commissioner Cory Noonan previously told The Lima News would “ensure that the shell remains good if there’s ever a use for the facility.”
While there is no official deadline to use the funds, Huffman said unspent monies can revert to the state if a project never comes to fruition.
Other Allen County projects funded by Ohio’s latest capital budget include:
• Allen County Fair Youth Show Arena: $310,000
• Allen County Fair Multi-Purpose Storage Building: $60,000
• Lima Community Pool: $2.4 million
• Lima Rotary Community Stage & Park: $800,000
• Schoonover Observatory: $250,000
• Allen County Memorial Hall: $1 million
• Allen County Museum: $50,000
• The Ohio State University-Lima: $1.7 million
• Rhodes State College: $2.3 million
• Apollo Regional Safety Training Center: $2.5 million