Residents of the village of Batavia attempt to save the Carriage House, led in part by two newcomers recently elected to the council.
David Pryor, who is one of two new board members when sworn in next year with Scott Runck, has started a petition to be presented to the Clermont County Board of Commissioners.
The petition on change.org has collected over 2,300 signatures at the time of writing.
Pryor said he wanted the Carriage House not only to remain standing, but to be “used and thrived” by transforming it into “a chic event space,” with concerts, receptions, parties and more.
Built around the 1890s, the Carriage House, located at 177 E. Main St., feared by Pryor and other residents that it would be demolished and replaced with four parking spaces in its place. Currently, the building houses county offices.
At a crowded BCC meeting on November 17, Wade Grabowski, director of the Clermont County Facilities Management Department, was invited to present a history of the Carriage House.
He said that more than a year into October 2020, they were still considering what to do with the building – demolish it or make it a viable building for occupation.
To run utilities separately in the Carriage House, it would cost around $ 52,000, he said, which is a low price.
Grabowski said he received three quotes for the demolition of the building, the lowest being $ 34,000.
Commissioner David Painter said that while the exterior seems to recall its original vintage from the 1800s, the interior is not.
Elaborating on this, Grabowski said the reason the Carriage House is not on the National Register of Historic Places is that to be eligible, much of the original building would still have to be in place.
“Is the building old?” Yes it is. Has it undergone several renovations? Yes it is, “he said.
“To cross the building, it feels like a building that was built 15, 20 years ago. Nothing looks like the 1800s if you walk around there with everything that has been done to be busy, ”Commissioner Bonnie Batchler later added.
In another follow-up, Painter asked if the building could be moved to one of the park’s districts to keep it for the future.
Grabowski said it would be a topic of discussion and that “anything is possible with the right amount of funding”.
“Can it be moved?” My answer would probably be that I wouldn’t recommend it, but it is possible, ”he said.
When the meeting opened for public comment, a number of people spoke to the BCC on the matter. The first was Pryor. He reiterated his request, as on the petition, to leave the Carriage House standing and reassign it to another business.
“I think it is essential to leave a lasting legacy for future generations,” he said. “The charm of small towns, I believe, is intimately linked to this heritage. “
Cindy Johnson, secretary of the Clermont County Historical Society, a local non-profit organization with a specific mission to preserve, protect and promote the county’s historical heritage, also spoke with the BCC.
She shared a story about Karl Hoerner, who built the Carriage House. Not surprisingly, like much of Cincinnati and its surrounding areas, he was a German immigrant. He worked as a blacksmith and built the Carriage House behind his tavern, which housed his eight children on the second floor, according to Johnson.
Runck also addressed the BCC and added his support for “keeping the charm”.
Following part of the outcry on Facebook, Claire Corcoran wrote: “Anyone who wrote that the three commissioners had been scrapped is incorrect. Speaking as the sole commissioner, I have in no way indicated the desire to demolish the building and I am very open to receiving ideas to save this building.