Troy residents rally to save historic building

TROY — Troy residents rallied Tuesday to raise public awareness in efforts to save a building that once served as the site of the city of Troy’s first jail and courthouse.

Randy Kimmel, the owner of 112-118 W. Main St., applied to demolish the building and turn it into a parking lot with the city of Troy on Sept. 2. In the application, Kimmel states the tornado damage in January has rendered the building unsafe and is an economic hardship.

The building was once the site of the former Miami County courthouse (1841-1888) and a historic three-story building along West Main Street that is nearly 120 years old.

The Troy Planning Commission will review the application at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28 using the video teleconference platform Zoom. The Zoom meeting can be accessed at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84332371022 or through the application using Meeting ID: 843 3237 1022. The meeting can also be viewed live on the city of Troy’s Facebook page.

Julie McMiller, an organizer of the rally, represented a new grassroots organization called the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance.

“We are working very hard with a group of people to save it,” McMiller said. “We believe it’s possible, so we are here to make our voices heard.”

McMiller said although the building is not on the National Register of Historic Places, “a lot of important events occurred in this building, mainly when it was a courthouse.” McMiller said an anonymous person has declared interest in acquiring the building, but was unable to identify that person or organization.

More than 182 pages of emails and documents were filed with the Troy Planning Commission’s clerk Sue Knight, according to a public information request. All were in favor of saving the building in some manner and questioned the rush of the application and its integrity. Attorney Jeremy Tomb, who is opposed to the demolition application, provided the planning commission a review by SEA Ltd’s structural/civil engineer Kirk Wolf. Wolf’s report debunks Kimmel’s reports of the building being beyond repair, the lack of adjacent building protection plans and that a more thorough evaluation of the building should be done.

Cheryl Cheadle, owner of the 108-110 W. Main St. building, stated she was concerned with the surrounding buildings. Cheadle said she was never contacted about the demolition application of the building to which it might share a common wall with her property. She also said she was concerned about the historic preservation of the building and opposed to a parking lot or structure on the site.

“It would be so out of place and ruin the look of the historic buildings in this block,” Cheadle said.

Other contributors said the demolition of the building would be “a massive wound on our beautiful downtown” and “with every swing of the wrecking ball will be the beginning of the end of downtown Troy.”

According to the Troy Historical Society’s plaque affixed to the building, the building was the site of the county’s log jail in 1808. A log jailor’s house was built beside it in 1810. The second floor served as Troy’s second courthouse from 1811-1824. Troy’s fourth courthouse was a two-story Greek Revival brick building with columns in front and a belfry that was erected in 1841 and used until 1888. The rear part of the structure remains intact.

In the application, Kimmel provided an estimate to renovate the structure at $659,788 from Bruns Construction. The estimate to demolish the building was $169,470. To install a pay-pass parking lot was around $65,000, or the site could be prepped for sale. The Miami County Department of Development deemed it unsafe on Sept. 28. No insurance claim funds were provided in the application.