The City of Delaware’s Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday rejected a county application to demolish the former Elks Lodge.
The commission unanimously rejected the application to dismantle the building at 110 N. Sandusky St. because it was incomplete, according to member Chris Jones, who also serves on Delaware City Council.
“We felt that the county didn’t really tell us what plans they had,” he said. “They kind of gave us no choice but to vote it down.”
The county plans to appeal the decision with Delaware City Council. If the application is not ultimately approved, county officials have said they may build a new courthouse outside of the city when the time comes.
“It really does have, I think, significant implication as to whether a courthouse is located here,” Delaware County Commissioner Ken O’Brien said.
Jones said the city will not sacrifice a courthouse and all the tax dollars that come with it for the sake of an unused historic building.
“If it comes down to that building and the courthouse, I want the courthouse in Delaware,” he said
The building was constructed in 1877. It would cost the county at least $2 million to preserve the building in its current state, according to Delaware County Administrator Tim Hansley.
The county purchased the building in 2006 for $393,000 with plans to build a $51 million courthouse on the property. It was placed in the city’s historical preservation district in 2001.
Plans to build a new courthouse stalled with the economy in 2008.
Now the county is undergoing a facilities study that could once again spell out the need for a new courthouse. The Ohio Supreme Court is also weighing a request to add two judicial positions in the county, which could accelerate the need for a new judicial center.
The county plans to use Moving Ohio Forward Grant funds to demolish the structure.
The grant is part of a $25 billion settlement with Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorganChase and Wells Fargo in a federal lawsuit alleging the companies engaged in fraudulent foreclosure practices. A total of $75 million was earmarked for Ohio residential home demolitions.
The county has 30 days to file its appeal.