The debate continues for what will happen to four historic buildings located in downtown Findlay that used to house Hancock County offices until the flood of 2007. They have been vacant ever since.
Hancock County commissioners decided last year it was more cost effective to demolish the historic buildings, rather than renovate. The buildings are scheduled to be demolished later this year.
On Thursday, a local businessman met with commissioners to discuss his plans to turn the buildings into loft apartments and businesses.
Downtown Findlay has been a booming scene over the last few years. Like other cities, it recently has been drawing attention for new living space.
"People want to live downtown, close to where they work. And we're getting calls on almost a daily basis in that regard. And we can't meet the demand because there's no place to put them," explained Jim Heck.
The four buildings, which should be prime real estate in the heart of downtown, have been empty for years and fallen into disrepair. The county plans to tear down the eyesores, but in light of the recent fire at the Argyle Building and its following demolition, residents are worried about the fast disappearing downtown.
"If there's no place for people to operate businesses and so forth, and live and work, then there is no downtown. And if we keep tearing it down, there won't be anything left," said Heck.
The concerns are heard by county officials.
"I think everyone was concerned about having two voids within our downtown landscape," said Brian Robertson, Hancock County commissioner.
So local businessman Heck met with officials to lay out his plan of turning the buildings into loft apartments and street level businesses. Heck claims the county would break even through this deal, but the commissioners need to mull over the details before making a decision.
"I think anytime you can have an honest open dialog, bring two parties face-to-face and just have some good discussion, I think that's a good thing," said Robertson.
The commissioners have a deadline of April to use FEMA funds to demolish the buildings.
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