COLUMBUS GROVE — The discussion at Columbus Grove village council this past Monday again turned towards how to address Turner Hall. Recently, an issue with water entering the building, resulting in the development of mold, has led to the facility being closed for public use.

The remainder of the funds donated to the village along with the building would not, it is believed, cover the cost of mold remediation and renovations to the building. Nor would those funds likely cover the cost of demolition.

No matter what the village may ultimately decide to do, it is likely that the choice will necessitate using taxpayer money from the general fund. Though, some funds could possibly be recouped through the sale of the building’s stained glass windows and other items of value.

“I think the problem is,” said council member Brian Schroeder, “We took ownership of the building. I think we owe it to [the former congregation] to try to find an alternative.”

“In three years we haven’t found an alternative, nor ways to sustain it,” countered councilman Greg Heckel. “It’s just losing money, every year. Eventually, that money’s going to run out, and we’re going to end up paying out of the general fund to do something with it. Right now, the money’s there to make a decision to part ways with it. I do not feel good about waiting until we have to spend village money on that church to do anything.”

“There is a value in history,” said Mayor Ken Wright. “It’s one of the oldest buildings in the village. First church in the village. I think if we make a decision not to tear it down, we have to do a better job of making it a more valuable asset to the village than it is now.”

“That sounds great,” responded Mr. Heckel, “But, it’s not a valuable asset. I mean, we’ve all been in it. It’s old. It smells. It needs to be rehabbed. I mean, completely gutted and rehabbed.”

At the next council meeting, a representative of Poggemeyer Design Group will attend and present information on grants that may be available to the village following the recent completion of an income survey. In preparation, a short overview of possible grant funding was provided. In relation to Turner Hall, Mr. Schroeder referenced one such grant.

“I would like to see what’s available,” he said. “I was looking through [the grant possibilities]. There’s a Neighborhood Revitalization grant which [provides] funds for dilapidated buildings that are for the community. I would like to, at least, see if there’s an alternative.”

“I agree, there comes a point when, financially, we have to look at what [Mr. Heckel] is saying,” Mr. Schroeder concluded.

“The response I’ve gotten since our last meeting, from the community,” offered council member Gretchen Staley, “Is, fix the spouting and dry it. Get the water to stop coming in, and then assess what other options there might be…That it’s in too good of a condition, even with the fact that it needs updating, to say, ‘It has one leak and it should be razed.’ The community members who have reached out to me have felt that that’s an awful big jump for something that, three years ago, there was enough energy to say, ‘It has value.’ ”

The discussion continued, emphasizing how the building’s age and unique sloped floor worked against it when considering possible options for its future use, along with its present use as an event hall as well. When repeatedly showing the building to potential clients, it has become apparent to the village that it cannot compete with more modern facilities.

No decisions regarding Turner Hall were made on Monday evening. The discussion was again tabled until after the grants presentation by Poggemeyer Design Group. In other council news:

• A private security firm has been contacted by Police Chief Sean Hiler and should soon provide multiple quotes on different alert systems for the billing clerks’ office in the village hall.

• Potential brackets for holding flags, banners, and flower baskets on the new antique styled street lamps were presented by Mayor Wright. They will soon be placed on the example lamp placed near the Axe Handle restaurant along S. High St. near Turner St. for further consideration.

• A contractor conducting ditch maintenance in Plum Creek will be working within village limits this week, beginning this past Tuesday morning.

The next meeting of the Columbus Grove Village Council will take place on Monday, August 26 at 7:30 p.m. All meetings are open to the public and they are invited to attend.