Give Howland a Historic Group Seat at the Table | News, Sports, Jobs
Safety improvements are crucial for a high traffic road in Howland where numerous fatal and personal injury accidents have occurred over the years.
But preserving our history is also crucial for future generations.
The two issues have intersected as the Ohio Department of Transportation strives to improve safety and traffic through the busy state highway 46 and 82 interchange in Howland. As designed, the planned safety improvements and the conversion of the intersection into a “divergent diamond” will mean the removal of a historic Howland house, commonly known as “Yellow house” which is located at the intersection.
Tentatively, the construction of the road is scheduled for 2023.
We were hoping the owner of the Yellow House – an 1830s house now home to the Howland Historical Society, one of Howland’s oldest houses – and the Ohio Department of Transportation would be able to come to an agreement. on how to preserve the house. which is located in an area provided for the security upgrade.
Indeed, it seems that the parties have tried to be cooperative. ODOT even offered to help her move. Moving the house promises to be costly, and certainly, it will bring limits. Now new hurdles have entered the equation. Land has been found where the house can be moved, but it is located across the Highway 82 bridge, which poses extreme challenges in moving the house. Relocation options in the other direction are also limited due to the high property values.
So far, members of the Howland Historical Society have done a masterful job monitoring publicly available developments in their work to save the building.
For example, group members were very much in tune with Thursday’s ODOT meeting in District 4 where the planned diverging diamond exchange project at the intersection of highways 46 and 82 was to be discussed.
But ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Warner Taiclet, vice president of the Howland Historical Society, told us that he and other members and residents of the society had many questions and concerns, largely because they felt excluded.
“We’re not sure what we’ll hear because we haven’t been told anything. We feel like a (fifth) wheel ”, said Taiclet.
You see, so far the role of the group in these conversations has only been as a third party. Although the group has a great interest in preserving the house and its history, the Howland Historical Society does not own the house or the land. On the contrary, it rents the space that houses the organization and its operations.
We believe, in this case, that an exception should be made to any rule which limits the involvement of the owner. Because of the group’s knowledge and representation of local historical issues, members should be directly involved in discussions about the future of the building.
We urge the home owner, Altobelli Real Estate, ODOT, and township leaders to stay focused on finding a way to make the necessary safety improvements without the forced demolition of one of the oldest homes in our area. region.
And more than that, we urge them to agree to allow the Howland Historical Society to have a seat at the table while these discussions take place.