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Three Historic Buildings Owned By Solon Need Expensive Upgrades

A condition assessment of the Solon Historical Society Building, Lynch House and Bull House show that the historic homes need roughly $700,000 in upgrades.

A condition assessment of three historic buildings owned by the city of Solon show that they need roughly $700,000 worth of building code and handicap accessibility repairs.

Right now, only one of the structures, The Solon Historical Society building, is occupied and in use. The other two are historic homes, the Bull and Lynch houses, and are not being used right now.

City officials are now left grappling with what to do with the buildings, all located on Bainbridge Road, and whether the city should continue owning them, the Bull and Lynch houses.

Mayor Susan Drucker said it will be up to city officials to determine what the city does with these buildings.

"These are substantial amounts of money," she said.

Safety committee members, who were briefed this month on the condition assessment, say that they will have some decisions to make.

"We should at some point down the road, decide whether we even want to own those homes down the road," said Vice Mayor Ed Kraus. "It may be a better use for another entity to own those homes."

Councilman Bill Russo said: "What we’ll have to weigh is not only what’s needed but the usage of the properties and determine whether or not the dollars are justified based on the usage of the buildings."

The Solon Finance Committee had asked for a full accounting of the buildings' conditions before considering what to do with the buildings, and whether the city should spend money to fix them.

The assessment, performed by architecture firm Braun & Steidl, provides costs for both priority maintenance items and building code and accessibility items that would be needed if, for example, the city wanted to modify the buildings or start using the Bull and Lynch houses for some purpose.

Solon Historical Society Building

The most expensive building to fix would be the historical society building. The study identified $42,600 in maintenance costs and $310,000 in building code and accessibility repairs, including upgrading the fire protection system, disability access, electrical work and more.

Drucker said some of the maintenance items for the historical society building had already been taken care of in-house at a reduced cost. She moved forward on them because she felt that those safety issues needed to be addressed immediately.

"I didn’t feel comfortable with a building open to the public without addressing those issues," she said.

Lynch House

The Lynch House needs $28,520 in maintenance repairs, including a new roof, stormwater system, electrical work and more. The building code costs could reach $144,000, including meeting handicap accessibility requirements by reconfiguring the staircase and widening doors.

Bull House

The Bull House requires $11,300 in maintenance repairs and about $146,000 in building code and accessibility repairs.

Tom Wasson February 17, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I suggest the City move the Historical Society over to the Bull House. it is the most "historic" of the structures. Upgrades to that property should be top notch and to a standard for which citizens are proud to visit. The other two need to be raized, open up that critical corner of town, and lets all move on. The current "Historical" building is an embarrassment to be called a Solon property. It reminds me of the old police station which now is worthy of our city.
Sandy February 17, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Of course convenience is the most important thing to consider vis a vis demolition of said properties...Let us open the corner to a wide angle view of a dirty city hall...now that is what I call an embarrassment!
Jim Advent February 17, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Stop spending money without a plan. To say they are going to fix them up for a city usage, I would want to know that usage first before another penny in spent on 3 very old building. We have a Art Center, a Community Center, and city buildings with meeting space built in. So I ask what other usage is worth $700,000. I can see 1 building for the historical society and their items but not 3.
Eileen Parmelee February 18, 2012 at 12:15 AM
How can the Solon Administration consider not restoring perhaps the three most historic buildings in Solon, the Bull house being the former residence of Lorenzo "Solon" Bull. There was a plan - I sold the Bull residence to the City based on the promise the home would be used as a historic structure by the Solon Historical Society. Had I known that the City would let the house sit for the past six and a half years without maintenance, I would never have sold the home of "Solon" to the Demolish Crew (Solon Administration). What home can be neglected for over six years and not need maintenance? The City's major renovation to the Bull home has been a coat of paint this past summer. Who else but the City can purchase property, do nothing to maintain and then complain about cost to renovate? One final comment - thank goodness there were enough interested people in this community to embarrass the City of Solon to assist in the renovation of the Old City Hall which is now the Art Center? Otherwise, we would have had another asphalt parking lot. Just think, with the City's current and past vision, if they tear down the three historic buildings, we will have an unobstructed view of the City Hall from Wahlgreen's - a building in the current historic district of Solon.
Bob Shimits February 23, 2012 at 01:04 AM
As President of the Solon Historical Society I am actively trying to get the city to approve the go ahead of a plan to renovate the Museum building. I will be having a meeting with Mayor Drucker in the next week or so to discuss the options. I presented a plan before the building evaluations were done to partner with the city to take care of the issues with the museum building. Tom Wasson's comment of moving the Historical Society into the Bull home would not work due to the huge amount of artifacts we now have on display in the museum. Our plan is to renovate the museum building to make it a place to be proud of. We will be dedicating an Ohio Historical Marker this spring in front of the building. Once the Museum is completed our plan is to renovate the Bull home and furnish it to a specific period between 1840 and 1900. That will then be considered our annex building. I'm not sure where the Lynch house fits into this plan until my meeting with the Mayor. If anyone would like to see the Museum building contact me anytime. All I can do is ask for the publics support to make our most historic area in Solon a place that we can be proud of. Bob Shimits

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