Geauga County Commissioners said last week they have no intention of tearing down Pleasant Hill County Home, despite rumors to the contrary.
“Wrong,” Commissioner Walter “Skip” Claypool said last week when asked whether razing of the 150-year-old building in Claridon Township was in the commissioner’s plans.
Commissioners had faced criticism from some members of the public after announcing in June that they planned to close the facility, serving indigent and elderly residents of the county.
One of those critics, William McCullam of Russell Township, took time to come to a commissioners meeting following the decision to express his opposition to the move.
Last week, Mr. McCullam wrote that he now had a new concern about the fate of the facility.
“Now, in a fresh outrage, we learn they (commissioners) plan to demolish this graceful historic building,” he wrote. “It is one of the oldest and most important examples of Western Reserve architecture in Ohio.”
But, commissioners said that is not the direction they are headed with the historic building.
“We are not tearing down the county home,” Glen Vernick, director of county maintenance, said.
Instead, commissioners said they have been having ongoing discussions with possible tenants to use the building.
Commissioner Timothy Lennon said he has been speaking with nonprofits in the county in hope that one will see the building as possible future offices for their organizations. To date most have rejected the idea, he said, citing the inefficient layout of the historic structure.
Commissioner Claypool said he is hoping that another critical need in the county may be served by the former home for county residents.
He said he has been speaking with the Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers in hope of their interest in re-making the home into a sober house for county residents battling drug and alcohol addictions. He said while Lake County already has two homes to serve that purpose, Geauga is lacking in a similar facility.
“There is no appetite for selling the property,” Mr. Claypool said of the commissioners’ plans for the future of the building.