Participants at a meeting last week aimed at sparing the old Clinton Annex from the wrecking ball reported reasons for optimism that they will succeed.

Participants at a meeting last week aimed at sparing the old Clinton Annex from the wrecking ball reported reasons for optimism that they will succeed.

"I think we have a better chance than we had before the meeting," Clintonville Area Commission District 3 representative Elizabeth "Libby" Wetherholt said.

Members of a special committee created July 11 by the CAC at the urging of Wetherholt gathered last Thursday, July 18, at Clinton Elementary School to discuss possible uses for the last remaining government building in the neighborhood dating to pre-annexation days.

The building, thought to have been erected about 1904, sits on the grounds of Clinton Elementary School.

At the July 11 session, CAC members heard a presentation from Gerald A. Sutton, from the local architectural firm Schooley Caldwell Associates, and Carole Olshavsky, Columbus City Schools senior executive for capital improvements, regarding plans to tear down the old structure to create more green space on the elementary campus.

About 20 people were on hand for the initial session of the special committee, said Chairwoman Mary Beth Hirsch. After taking a tour of the building, participants went over three possible uses for the Clinton Annex.

"It was really gratifying to see everybody come together like that," Wetherholt said.

One concept, which would have involved food production, was dropped from consideration fairly quickly, she said.

Still in the running are a child-care and after-school operation and a museum that would be curated by students from Clinton Elementary School.

"I'm very encouraged by the meeting that we had ... and I believe that we can present at least two very workable ideas to the district that will be very doable as far as making them happen in the building, and that will benefit the families of Clinton Elementary," Hirsch said. "We had a nice, diverse, good-sized group at the meeting."

"I actually am feeling very excited," said Mary Rodgers, president of the Clintonville Historical Society. "I think that when you look at a business plan, you focus a lot on the obstacles, and there weren't a lot of obstacles here.

"As far as business plans go, the two concepts that were discussed, there were no obstacles associated with the concepts using that building or with the financial aspects of the plan."

All three participants said the child-care concept seemed to have the best chance of being economically viable and falling in line with what district officials would find acceptable.

"If I had to push one above the other, I think the child-care concept might ride a little higher than the museum concept, but both are strong," Rodgers said. "I think the child-care concept, there is a pent-up demand."

"It has lots of complementary interests," Wetherholt said. "Other people gave input that would complement that idea and really make it an all-encompassing kind of child care.

"What I was not aware of is that child care here in Clintonville, everyone has waiting lists. There are huge waiting lists," she said. "They aren't even taking names at this point for more."

Hirsch said the building "seems to be very conducive to a multitiered child-care program."

Committee members will create executive summaries regarding both the museum idea and the child-care operation to be presented to school district executives as well as members of the CAC.

The special panel will meet again at 7 p.m. Monday, July 29, at Clinton Heights Lutheran Church, 15 Clinton Heights Ave.

In addition, a display regarding the history of the building and the proposed possible reuses is scheduled to go up on Wednesday, July 31, at the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.