MANSFIELD -- The Richland County Land Bank has scheduled the first of two public meetings about a historic building for 1 p.m. Thursday, May 16 at its office in the Richland County Courthouse.
The building, located at 171 West Fourth St., is slated for demolition. But upon realizing its connection to former city of Mansfield civil engineer Jacob Laird, Land Bank manager Amy Hamrick requested the board set up at least one public meeting.
The land bank board obliged and Wednesday afternoon it planned two public meetings. The first will be at 1 p.m. May 16, and the other will be scheduled on another night, it’s location and time haven’t yet been determined.
“We want to make sure the public’s aware what we’re doing, number one. And if they have any input or ideas on how we can help preserve the history,” Hamrick said. “I realize it will likely be a written history, not the actual structure, but some way to preserve it.
“You know, we can’t think of everything, but someone else might have an idea we haven’t thought of.”
A letter from the Ohio State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO) informed the Land Bank the property had historical significance. It recommended the Land Bank "evaluate project alternatives that would avoid, minimize or mitigate the adverse effect to the Jacob Laird House."
"If no alternative to demolition can be found, the SHPO recommends that the Richland County Land Bank work with other local consulting parties (i.e., city of Mansfield, Richland County Historical Society, etc.) to agree on appropriate mitigation for the demolition of the historic property," the letter said.
At this time, Hamrick believes demolition will be the only option for the building.
The property was first foreclosed on in 2015. Mansfield City Council approved using the PRIDE tax for its demolition in 2018 without knowing its historical value.
The Land Bank board intends to enter a Memorandum of Understanding with the city of Mansfield, local historic entities and Ohio History Connection to determine what's next at the property.
At Wednesday’s board meeting, Hamrick provided a draft version of the memorandum which includes intentions to “fully document the house before its potential removal,” and to prepare reports for local archives.
Before the memorandum is finalized, Hamrick said, she needs to collect public comments to attach.
“So this is a work in process,” she said.
Read more about Jacob Laird and the history of the house at 171 West Fourth Street in an earlier story.