The Delaware County commissioners held a public hearing Oct. 25 to consider demolishing two historic structures that appear doomed by poor repair and changing times.

The Delaware County commissioners held a public hearing Oct. 25 to consider demolishing two historic structures that appear doomed by poor repair and changing times.

The hearing was part of a federal regulatory process under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and represents the use of funds originally awarded to the county for the demolition of the Delaware Hotel.

One property is the former Delaware County Home, 4841 County Home Road, now owned by the Buckeye Valley school district and under consideration as a potential elementary school site. The other is at 116 N. Sandusky St., in the city of Delaware's historic Northwest District.

Also speaking at the hearing was Delaware resident April Nelson, a preservationist and former member of the city's historic preservation commission.

She asked the commissioners to consider the nature of the buildings before making any decision to demolish them.

Nelson described the city property as the MacKenzie House, after its builder William MacKenzie, a prominent businessman from the early 20th century. She said the home represented "four square" design.

"It is a uniquely American style," Nelson said. "This is not something we borrowed from Europe. The MacKenzie property is a classic example of four square style. It's also safe to guess that most of the lumber that went into it came from the MacKenzie lumber company. It is also one of the last reminders we have of the time when our most prominent citizens built their houses downtown, rather than out in the neighborhoods, which they considered the suburbs, or further out in the county. Once a building is gone, it is gone forever."

Dale Hartle, of the Ohio Regional Development Corp., said both buildings were not reasonably salvageable.

"Both buildings appear to be in very serious need of repair or something more drastic will happen to them, based on their current condition," Hartle said.

"The county home property owned by the school district is in nearly impossible condition to repair without a tremendous cost. It's currently a hazard and unsafe and things go on there that are more than just the bats flying."

Mark Tingley, Buckeye Valley's director of administrative services, said the district sought the county's financial help in demolishing the county home.

"We've had issues in terms of maintenance," Tingley said. "We understand it's in terrible shape out there. We are possibly looking at that property to maybe be a new elementary site in the next few years. Any assistance you could give in taking that down would be most appreciated."

Commissioner Tommy Thompson said teenagers were running amok in the abandoned buildings.

"There have been some other activities taking place in the old county home facility that are less than desirable. We don't want our students injured by partying in that facility and falling down or having that building falling down on them. They seem to frequent those places that have been abandoned, for whatever reason."