COLUMBUS GROVE — Before addressing agenda business Monday evening, Columbus Grove Mayor Ken Wright advised council of an accident in Defiance County that sent Village Administrator Jeff Vance to ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital for medical attention.

According to Wright, Vance was returning from Defiance County with a load of stone when a vehicle pulled out in front of him. The Ohio Highway Patrol reports the vehicle Vance was operating left the roadway on U.S. Route 127 just south of Sherwood.

“The truck rolled over twice and the other driver fled the scene,” Wright told council. “Jeff’s home now with some scrapes and bruises. He’s not hurt badly, but he’s banged and bruised up pretty good. He was driving the big red dump truck.”

Fiscal Officer Shana Kerns then passed council members a startling image of the truck after the accident posted on the Crescent-News website. The truck lies on the driver’s side, the front of the cab mangled, and the roof torn free from the vehicle.

Speaking from his home on Tuesday, Vance expressed relief.

“I’m just grateful it was one I could walk away from,” he said.

The Ohio Highway Patrol is investigating the accident, and continues searching for the other vehicle involved.

Council then spoke with Chris Halker regarding the status of the Crawford Building. Already months past a complete renovation deadline established by council, Halker requested more time, saying he’d run into complications with both the building and with constraints due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Passing pictures of work recently completed, Halker said, “As bad as coronavirus has been, I actually got a lot of work done. We got the first floor gutted. But we were upstairs knocking the walls down, and like six of the floor joists cracked in half. I’ve got bracing up, and I don’t let anybody go up there but me.”

Halker went on to say that one particular problem — the collection of rainwater following a hard rain in a specific room of the site — may be caused by a neighboring building.

“We’re trying to figure out if the water is coming from the roof on that side, or where it’s coming from for sure yet,” he said.

With regard to a grant he is working to receive, Halker told council the pandemic has stalled that process. “It’s basically in limbo,” he said.

Responding to a question put forward by Council President Skyler Mayberry as to a timeline on renovations, Halker said, “Realistically, I’d like to be open in a year. I know that’s still way past, but there are a lot of issues with that place. I’m sorry. I’m hoping you guys will still work with me.”

Without assuming any specific stance on the matter, council provided some guidance, suggesting he clear counters full of odds and ends readily visible from the street, and address the exterior’s aesthetic.

“From our point, in terms of the ordinance, we just want to see probably it getting buttoned up and the exterior looking nice,” Councilor Chad Irwin said. “The inside, I know there’s a lot more money to put in, but, just for the community, appearance-wise, make the outside look nice.”

“That is the stuff the community sees as ‘not-improvement’ when they’re sitting at a light,” Councilor Gretchen Staley added.

Council also discussed an issue at the community pool. What was initially believed a problem with a pump, was, in fact, a broken water line requiring the excavation of part of the pool deck near the slide. The problem has since been repaired, and the slide and adjacent splash pads are reopened.

Council then met in executive session to discuss matters related to contracts and personnel. After reconvening, council approved the hiring of a part-time police officer for the village.

The next regular meeting of the Columbus Grove Village Council is scheduled for Monday, July 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Turner Hall, pending any advisement to the contrary.