Before Solon City Council’s Safety and Public Properties Committee Wednesday night was a negotiated lease agreement, thus saving the Lynch home from demolition.
The lease agreement for the city-owned home at 34025 Bainbridge Road, was signed by members of the Solon Historical Society and spelled out certain conditions put forth by the city. Most notably, the society agreed to place $300,000 into an escrow account for the repairs and renovation of the house. The society has also agreed to place an additional $10,000 into a Maintenance Escrow account for ongoing upkeep of the structure.
The committee had approved razing the home, built in 1905, at a past meeting due to its deteriorating condition.
“We are about as pleased as can be expected,” Councilman Robert Shimits, president of the Solon Historical Society, said Tuesday about the lease. “Is it ideal for us? No, but we were able to negotiate the issues, and we are in agreement with it.”
According to the negotiated agreement, if the society backs out and not abide by the terms of the lease, the city will raze the home within 30 days.
“We wouldn’t have signed it if we were not willing to move forward,” Mr. Shimits noted.
He said the $300,000 will drain the society’s coffers.
“We were hoping to do a joint account with the city but legally, the city could not do that,” Mr. Shimits said. “Unfortunately, we have to go with whatever the city is able to do. Because the city owns the property and the lease is with the city, there are different legal issues that have to be taken into consideration.”
The lease also states that the city shall have final determination on all decisions regarding the house. They will follow standard request for proposal processes for choosing an architect and engineer for the design of the house and follow the city’s procurement process for choosing a contractor.
Plans are to have the majority of the construction completed prior to the bicentennial celebrations this year.
All along the society has aimed at keeping the home to expand the historical society and to provide office and research space, as well as additional storage and an additional exhibit space.
Mayor Edward H. Kraus has voiced support to keep the home if the city and society reached an agreement that did not involve any city money.
Discussion of the fate of the house dates back to 2015.