The Gregory S. Lashutka Event Center, named after Columbus' 51st mayor, is open at 3479 Riverside Drive in Columbus near Griggs Reservoir.

Some would say it is the secret -- or perhaps not-so-secret -- wish of every politician to have a building, road or other permanent monument named in his or her honor.

Lashutka, the city's last Republican mayor who served 1991-99, said that was not his ultimate ambition.

"It's not a legacy for me," said Lashutka, who also served two terms as city attorney. "It's a legacy of the people who worked for me and the citizens of Columbus."

The event center includes a charcoal portrait of the mayor, some memorabilia from his office, an outdoor patio overlooking the Scioto River, a meeting room with historic stone fireplace, a large event room that holds 50 to 100 people and a dressing room and catering prep room available for use during weddings or other occasions. The city spent a little less than $2.2 million to renovate and update the facility.

"I think it's just absolutely spectacular," Lashutka said. "The first time I walked through this I was blown away."

Lashutka, 73, is a consultant with the human-resources firm of Findley Davies and said he "has some other things going."

He lives in German Village with his wife, Catherine Adams, who is in the midst of closing her store, Caterina Ltd. on South Third Street.

The original building, called the Richards House, was constructed about 1816 and is one of the oldest residential structures in the area, said Brian Hoyt, a spokesman for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.

The house was built by Ebenezer and Lois Taylor Richards and eventually was acquired by the city with the development of the Griggs Reservoir and dam on the western border of Upper Arlington.

Starting about 1905, the facility served as the dam-tender's house. The job was phased out, leaving the structure vacant, Hoyt said.

In 2007, the exterior was stabilized through the Columbus Historic Resources Commission.

Not long afterward, however, a storm swept through and caused significant damage to the roof. Some essential repairs were done, but it once again sat vacant.

City officials then decided to use the facility as a rentable shelter and events center.

Capital funds for renovations and expanding the facility from 1,600 to 4,800 square feet were secured by former mayor Michael B. Coleman's administration.

Coleman, a Democrat, also wanted a facility named in honor of Lashutka's public service.

"I was humbled," Lashutka said. "It's very nice."

Construction was completed in April 2017 and the facility opened May 1.

"Greg Lashutka was committed to moving the city forward and making it better," said Mayor Andrew Ginther, a Democrat. "He set the standard for integrity.

"The events center will be a testament to (Lashutka) that lasts for generations, a fitting tribute for a man who did so much for Columbus."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary