Garrettsville – Good things come to those who wait.
Keep that in mind as Garrettsville’s Buckeye Block sits vacant, waiting for funding, conceptualizing, planning, revisions, approvals, and infrastructure before the first ceremonial shovels hit the dirt, signaling an official start to the rebuilding process.
According to primary property owner of the Buckeye Block Mike Maschek, “Even though we all had insurance coverage, no one can afford to rebuild according to modern standards at this point. We need a government grant to make rebuilding feasible — not a loan. We’re hoping such funding could become available within 60 days. If that comes through, it will take at least a year to see any action at the Buckeye Block.”
The process starts with a basic concept and design, Maschek explained. Maschek Construction Co. is working closely with Garrettsville officials (i.e., Village Council, Planning Commission, Fire, Police, Utility and Street Depts.) to ensure that everyone is on board and that the concept will flow with Main Street’s historic identity. Once the concept is approved, an architect will draw up a detailed illustration. This second step is again reviewed by village planning officials (Design Review Board/Village Planning Committee). The final step in the preparation process is for an engineer to integrate all the ideas and concepts together in formal building plans that meet all current county and state building codes for final approval by all involved committees and the Portage County Building Department.
While actual building concepts and designs are in their initial stages, discussions are under way considering the possibility of building a full scale street to replace the alley that now runs behind the Buckeye Block; to replace the 100-year-old water line with a fresh, new line; to replace current electric lines with an underground system; to incorporate trees, grass and architectural lighting to the historic streetscape; and to incorporate other attractive features designed to draw visitors to downtown Garrettsville. Architectural students from Kent State University have made reconceptualizing Main Street their senior project, so new ideas are coming in that planners will consider while imagining the rebuilding process.
“We may never get an opportunity like this again,” Maschek said. “So we want to make the most of this quiet time to plan carefully for something valuable and lasting. We want to measure twice, then cut; not the other way around. We can’t afford to throw something together in a hurry and see if it sticks. A pearl starts as just a grain of sand. It takes time to become a beautiful pearl.”
Considering the relatively long wait for rebuilding the Buckeye Block, Maschek has been receiving enthusiastic inquiries from potential buyers and renters for the historic feed mill at Main and Water Streets, which he expects to be fully renovated and ready for occupancy as early as October 1 and surely before the end of the calendar year.
With asbestos abatement concluded, excavators should be on site by midweek to tear down the dilapidated rear buildings. The site behind the mill should be cleared and seeded with grass by the time Summerfest begins on June 27, Maschek said.