Garrettsville – Fire has dual nature: It can be both destructive and regenerative. Just as a new growth flourishes following a forest fire, a new Buckeye Block Building is expected to be erected on the site of the historic structure that burned down nearly three years ago.
“I’ve got the fire to rebuild it. I just need more fuel to put toward that fire to make it a reality,” says Michael Maschek, principal Buckeye Block owner and owner of Maschek Construction Company. Maschek has plans to start rebuilding this spring, if the needed funding comes through in time.
Maschek has been awarded partial funding toward the $1.5-2 million project. Thanks to Senator John Eklund (R- District 18), the downtown Buckeye Block rebuilding fund got a $700,000 boost from the State of Ohio last spring. The Garrettsville Buckeye Block-Community Theatre project is one of 15 appropriations awarded to Portage County entities through the Ohio Senate Finance Committee for Fiscal Year 2017-18.
“If I don’t use it by 2018, I lose it,” Maschek commented. So the clock is ticking on the available monies. The $700,000 sum falls far below the amount needed to rebuild the Buckeye Block Building that burned in a 2014 fire, but Maschek is moving forward with a two-story design, with a possible groundbreaking by late March.
Maschek is considering a 20,000-square-foot, brick-faced building design in keeping with the architecture of Garrettsville’s historic district. An open arcade is planned for pedestrians to walk through from the rear parking lot to Main Street. Four businesses are to line Main with more on both sides of the arcade, for a total of 8-10 street-level retail storefronts. On the second floor, a community theatre and office spaces will be roughed in, to be finished when more funds come available.
Along with the Capital Budget Appropriation, Maschek plans to use his share of the GarrettsvilleStrong Fund toward construction costs.
He also would like to have the historic grist mill catty-corner to the Buckeye Block sold to the tenants who now operate the Cellar Door Coffee Company at that location. Additionally, vacant frontage behind the mill is available for sale. Altogether, proceeds from those eventual sales would provide Maschek with the capital he needs to construct a new Buckeye Block Building. Until then, cash from other sources would help Maschek break ground three years after fire took down the original structure.
“I want to bring business back into town, and creating 10 retail spots at affordable rent will help get Garrettsville back on its feet and able to fulfill its potential,” Maschek said. “Things are going to fly once I get the cart and the horse in order.”
“I feel that the Cellar Door Coffee Company is part of the revitalization of Garrettsville. Things are coming together for a change of fresh atmosphere in Garrettsville. God is never late… and there is an awakening going on.”
Now that the Cellar Door is drawing customers back downtown, Maschek hopes that community members and outsiders alike will be motivated to contribute more to the GarrettsvilleStrong Fund as well as to his recently established GoFundMe page with a $50,000 goal, “Rebuilding Buckeye Block.”
To make a contribution to the GarrettsvilleStrong Fund, visit the Chamber of Commerce website at www.GarrettsvilleArea.com and click on the Help Rebuild tab at the right top corner of the page.