THORNVILLE– Downtown Thornville will never appear the same after two of its buildings came down last week. The old Thornville hardware store and an adjacent building were finally demolished after prolonged debate over whether to take advantage of a $60,000 donation to destroy the buildings, which were in disrepair, or try to save them for their historical value. The donation was only available to destroy the buildings and the village had only until Sept. 1 to accept it.
There are no set plans for what to do with the empty lots, although the village suffered a setback as large iron posts that the village planned to salvage from the hardware store were stolen Sunday night. “The village would like to see those returned with no questions asked,” said Mayor Gavin Renner. “Otherwise, we intend to prosecute to the fullest extent possible by law.”
Renner said the demolition project started last week on Tuesday with the rear portion of the hardware store. The front brick portion was brought down on Thursday and Friday. “The village salvaged items of architectural interest including corbels across the facade. We also intended to salvage the iron posts that composted the front structure of the building. Unfortunately, those were stolen from the site.”
Renner said he planned to help design a structure that would include architectural features of the old hardware store, including corbels off the front facade and the cast iron posts that framed the storefront windows. One of the columns was broken during demolition. “We could have used the (stolen) intact post as a central support for a gazebo or a pavilion that could be used by residents to sit and relax, or eat, or maybe have an outdoor event such as movies at the park or music,” he said.
Currently, the next step for the site is to form a committee of interested council members, Renner, and residents to determine what to do with it. Renner said some council members have mentioned a park. “I’ve also heard from interested resident s about prov id i ng opportunity for business,” he said. “There aren’t any definite plans.”
From a budgetary standpoint, Renner said the village spent the entire $60,000 budgeted, adding that $58,000 went toward the demolition with KMA Services and Excavating. An additional $1,500 was spent for engineering services, and roughly $900 on a survey of the lot prior to authorizing demolition. “There are probably some minor costs for employees to help. Also, the fire department provided some hose and their time to provide water to keep the dust to a minimum,” said Renner. “We’ll be reimbursed about $60,000 with a generous gift offered by the Shelley Foundation to cover costs incurred for the demolition. I believe the survey was already paid for but I’m not sure what fund that came out of,” he said.
Any future plans would require additional money. “If the village chooses to place a park or build a structure, that would be above and beyond the budget for demolition,” said Renner. “Those monies would need to be determined by council and appropriated.”
More photos of the demolition and potential uses for the site are available on Thornville’s Facebook page at HYPERLINK “http://www.facebook.com/thornville” www.facebook.com/Thornville.