COLUMBUS GROVE — The Village of Columbus Grove will host a community meeting regarding Turner Hall on Monday, October 21. The meeting will take place at Turner Hall, formerly the Presbyterian Church, and one of the oldest structures in the village. The building will be opened for community viewing at 4 p.m. on Oct. 21, and the meeting will take place at 7 p.m. The goal of the meeting is to solicit ideas on how the building could possibly be put to better use for the benefit of the community as a whole.

Though Turner Hall has been a point of discussion for several meetings now, the decision to hold a public meeting was prompted when Administrator Jeff Vance informed council that the village’s sole renter had opted to seek other accommodations for their business.

During the spring, water was found to have infiltrated the building, resulting in mold in the basement area. The renter had been unable to make use of the building since that time, and though the village did provide an alternative location within the municipal building, it seemed no surprise that the business had opted to find a more suitable location for its needs.

When Turner Hall was donated to the village, the final congregation of the Presbyterian Church also donated the remaining funds held by the church. The village chose to place those funds into an account intended for the upkeep of the building.

The water infiltration appears to have been resolved for the time being (additional gutter work may be needed). Council had been debating whether or not to use the remainder of the donated funds to clean and repair the building, or to put those funds towards decommissioning the building, and possibly demolishing it. Both options could possibly drain those remaining funds, with demolition likely costing significantly more than what remains in the account.

The village has been marketing Turner Hall for use as an event space with very limited success. Officials feel that it cannot compete with other local event halls that offer more modern amenities. As such, there is not a clear idea on what to do with it. Officials hope that community members, either on their own or through discussion on October 21, might come up with a use for the building that would make it an asset to the community and justify continued repair, upkeep, and maintenance costs.

At the beginning of Monday’s council meeting, an elderly veteran and resident of the village who had received two notices that structures on two different properties he owns were in violation of the village’s building codes came before council Monday evening to discuss his situation.

While he had managed to fix-up one structure, bringing it into compliance with village codes, he had not made much progress on the other. With a deadline set by the village approaching, he came to ask for my time with the remaining structure. He explained that he does intend to improve the structure, as he believes it will help him sell the property in the future.

Council shared information on resources that could possibly assist his efforts should he qualify, and requested that the resident continue to keep them informed of his efforts. The village will not take any corrective action at this time.

Under emergency rules, council passed an ordinance changing how sewer fees are accounted. No rates have been changed and residents will not see any change in their bill as a result of this action. When fees are collected, they are split between two accounts, one of which is dedicated to repaying the cost of new sewer infrastructure. One of the two accounts has turned negative, requiring a change in how the fees are split. Again, no change was made to the sewer rate itself, only how funds are accounted after collection.

In other council news:

• Lima Security was approved to install in the municipal building two wireless panic buttons, a door contact, and a keypad to activate or reset the panic buttons at an estimated cost of $350 plus a monthly charge of $29.95 for active monitoring of the panic buttons.

• Council approved a $9,250 contract with Poggemeyer Design Group to pursue grant funding opportunities.

• Police Chief Sean Hiler received approval to pursue a quote on a new police vehicle. It would replace a current vehicle with more than 80,000 miles on it, and, once ordered, may take 10 months to a year to receive.

The next meeting of the Columbus Grove Village Council will take place on Monday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are open to the public and they are invited to attend.