June 30, 2016

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Road to renovation: ‘A firestorm of opposition erupted’

James Duber, architect for studioTECHE, gives a PowerPoint presentation about the restoration of the Medina County Courthouse on Wednesday night at Medina City Hall. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

MEDINA — The restoration of the Medina County Courthouse almost didn’t happen.

The courthouse, built in 1841, almost was torn down twice in the 1960s to make way for a new building.

“A firestorm of opposition erupted,” said Elaine Lamb, a founding member of the Medina Community Design Committee.

A group of residents campaigned to persuade county commissioners not to tear down the courthouse and instead to build a new courthouse next door.

Several speakers talked about the history of the courthouse and the current restoration efforts during a Wednesday night presentation organized by the Medina Community Design Committee at Medina City Hall.

Now, county commissioners are focused on financing the restoration of the historic building. The project to restore the courthouse’s clock tower is expected to be finished the second week of December.

In a September file photo, scaffolding surrounds the clocktower at the top of the Medina County Courthouse. (GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

“The board is committed to this; we see this as important,” county Commissioner Steve Hambley said.

Hambley said a future project will consist of restoring and repairing the structure and ornamental components of the rest of the building, with an estimated cost of $350,000. He said commissioners plan to apply for a state capital grant.

James Duber, an architect for studioTECHE, who is involved with the clock tower stabilization and restoration, said that when he first went up to the tower, he saw it was “masonry resting on wood beams.”

“Truly, the support of the tower was failing,” he said.

Duber described how workers used steel beams to reinforce it and preserve it.

A video of the presentation as well as photographs of the restoration efforts will be available at www.medinacdc.org.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.