FINDLAY, OH (Toledo News Now) - A battle is brewing between downtown Findlay business owners and Hancock County Commissioners. It is all about what to do with four buildings located in the heart of downtown.
Controversy surrounds the scheduled demolition of four historical buildings. Local businessmen say tearing down the buildings will hurt downtown.
"We feel that more holes and empty space in downtown hurts a vibrant and beautiful downtown," explained Barry Niswander with Niswander's Jewelers.
Niswander Jeweler's is right across the street from four buildings scheduled to be demolished. Niswander, along with 67 business owners, signed a petition saying demolishing the buildings is not in the best interest of downtown business.
"They're not in bad condition and they can be revitalized," said Niswander.
County commissioners disagree. The buildings were badly damaged in a 2007 flood. Now the cost of rehabilitating the building is no longer logical, especially since they were bought in 2001 by the county with specific intentions in mind.
"They were purchased with the reason of tearing them down and making area space available for future county offices," said County Commissioner Ed Ingold.
The current plan is to demolish the buildings and then rebuild them to house the growing needs of the court.
"It just doesn't make any sense for the county to sell those properties, in the likelihood that years from now, they're going to need additional space," said Ingold.
Niswander feels the property could easily be turned into apartments or a greenspace.
"These are people concerned about downtown and investing money to make downtown nice," said Niswander.
Commissioners say they will continue to evaluate the concerns of petitioners until a final decision is reached.
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