Fight to save downtown Findlay buildings continues
Findlay, Ohio -
Findlay developer Jim Heck along with fellow downtown business owners outlining their plans for the empty buildings on Main Street and Dorney Plaza to the new set of Hancock County commissioners.
"I would like to create at least six to eight upscale loft living spaces on the second floor, and we'd like to create business locations on Main Street for new business to operate out of," said Heck.
The buildings are owned by the county and were damaged during the city's 2007 flooding. Hancock County officials have secured state and federal grants to demolish the buildings. However, Heck has made several attempts to stop the wrecking ball. Commissioner Brian Robertson says the meeting was called so the new group of commissioners could learn more about Heck's proposal.
"We want to try to understand what their plans are, their visions are timewise for it as well as the project as a whole and just get an understanding of what it is they want," said Robertson.
Heck gave a two year timeline for the redevelopment efforts and says at least one million dollars will be invested in remodeling and updating all four buildings. However, he stopped short of making an actual offer on the properties. Commissioners now must decide whether to put the property back out to bid.
"To me it comes down to the financials in regards to what makes best sense for the taxpayers over the long term and for the community over the long term," said Robertson.
No set plans are in place for how the property would be used if the buildings are demolished. Heck is optimistic his voice is being heard.
"We're very hopeful they'll agree with our vision for what needs to happen here," said Heck
Commissioners have little time to debate the subject. The state and federal grants expire in April and the bidding process takes time.
The previous set of commissioners had declined an offer Heck made to buy the properties saying the bid was much too low. This set of commissioners said they will decide about placing the properties up for bid by the end of January.