Marysville News

BZA gives city approval to raze house from 1850

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The city of Marysville has won round two of its battle with the Union County Historical Society over the demolition of a home to make way for more Uptown parking.

Each side presented its case to the Board of Zoning Appeals July 14. The BZA voted 6-0 to move forward with the demolition.

The city appealed a ruling by the Design Review Board from its June 11 meeting. In a 4-2 vote, the DRB denied the city's certificate of appropriateness to tear down the structure at 222 S. Main St.

The city bought the 0.26-acre property for $190,000 in June with plans to incorporate more parking for the adjacent Partners Park, a $1.16-million project being built on the site of the former city hall, 125 E. Sixth St. The new park will include a pavilion, gazebo, splash pad, garden and kiosk -- all part of an effort to promote Uptown revitalization.

Union County Historical Society President Bob Parrott has argued the house should not be demolished because of its historical significance.

Now that the BZA has made its ruling, the city plans to start tearing down the house either Monday, July 21, or Tuesday, July 22, pending an EPA inspection to make sure no hazardous materials are in the home.

If the EPA finds nothing, Assistant City Engineer Rob Priestas said the city will move forward with demolition "and recovering items the historical society wants."

"We're going to perform the demolition with city crews so it will be very low cost to the city -- (there will be) some minor cost for Dumpsters, and equipment rental, but it should be very low cost."

The historical society has given Priestas a list of items it wants to save from the home and it took pictures to keep for its records.

"I cannot say that I am not disappointed, because I am, but I will say that I am not bitter or angry," Parrott said. "We all have a right to argue our position on a matter and sometimes that position is followed and sometimes it is not."

Mayor John Gore said when the city first started talking about buying the property and tearing down the house, he spoke to Union County Historical Society Vice President Stephen Badenhop and was told there was no significance to the home.

"I think we were able to prove a point," Gore said. "None of us even had a clue that it was an old house until somebody said, 'do you know it was built in 1850?' and we said no."

Parrott said the house was built in 1850 by William Frank, who served as mayor from 1849 to 1853.

The Sellers family lived in the house from 1862 to 1914, according to historical society records. George Sellers, who operated a tannery, formed Co. E, 86th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a Marysville unit that fought in the Civil War. He became a local banker in 1880.

Once Parrott filed his opposition, the city followed code and hired an outside expert, Miriam Kahn, a historian and researcher at large with MBK Consulting. She is approved as a consultant by the Ohio Historical Preservation Society.

According to the report she prepared, the house underwent extensive modifications that reduced its historical significance, and the citizens who lived in the home did not rise to levels of prominence on the local, state or national level to warrant assigning the house more value.

In a 3-3 vote, the DRB voted the house had no significant historical value, but because of unanswered questions, the board denied the request for a certificate of appropriateness for demolition.

"There should not be any happiness that the 1850 home will be destroyed," Parrott said. "At the very least, the building's 164-year history with our town was remembered and discussed before the wrecking ball brought a close to one of the oldest surviving houses in Marysville."

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