FINDLAY, OH (Toledo News Now) - Controversy surrounds the demolition of four historic buildings in Findlay damaged in a 2007 flood. Preliminary plans are to create a park where the buildings are right now, but downtown business owners recently involved the court to stop demolition plans. On Tuesday morning, an injunction was filed with the county court to halt any bids on the buildings.
One downtown business owner says these four historic buildings need to stay put. Hancock County commissioners think otherwise. On Tuesday, they opened bids for demolition. However, nothing happened. An injunction filed by several downtown business owners brought demo plans to a screeching halt.
"When buildings come down in downtown Findlay the lots stay empty," said Barry Niswander.
Niswander owns Niswander's Jewelers right across the street and says he does not want to see a gaping hole in the heart of downtown.
"If these buildings come down, it will remain an empty spot and generate no revenue whatsoever for the county, or the city," said Niswander.
Initially, county commissioners planned to tear down the buildings and create a temporary green space. It would eventually be replaced with new buildings housing court offices.
Others want to see the buildings revitalized.
"They are not badly damaged. All the buildings around them went through the very same flood and they're all just fine," said John Bauer.
Bauer is the president of the Findlay Downtown Area Association. He says the county needs to hand over the buildings to the private sector to be developed.
"Have a private sector step in and purchase these [buildings], return them to the tax roll and actually make them productive businesses in the downtown area," suggested Bauer.
Commissioners declined to comment.
For now, the future of the four buildings is up to a judge.