An ongoing question between the Defiance County Historical Society (DCHS) and county commissioners concerning AuGlaize Village was a topic of discussion at the latter’s regular Thursday morning.
At issue is an agreement for the volunteer-based DCHS to manage the county-owned AuGlaize Village grounds and buildings on Krouse Road, just west of Defiance. The last agreement was approved in 1975, when the historical society turned over the donated grounds — totaling 120 acres — and buildings to commissioners.
Both sides acknowledge approval of the 1975 agreement and that it needs to be updated. Commissioners proposed a new one in 2017, but the historical society did not approve it, according to Commissioner Gary Plotts.
The agreement proposed a $1 nominal rental fee, but the sticking point was grounds repair and maintenance as covered in section 4.
It states that the lessee “shall, at its sole expense, maintain the property in good condition and repair including, but not limited to, roofs, foundations and exterior walls of all improvements, window glass, heating equipment, air conditioning, electrical equipment and water heaters. Lessee waives the right to (a) require the lessor to maintain, repair or rebuild all or any part of the property, or (b) make repairs at the expense of lessor pursuant to any legal requirement, contract, easement, covenant, condition or restriction at any time in effect. In addition, lessee shall keep the property in a safe and sanitary condition, including extermination of any pests upon the property, as required by the lessor, any applicable laws, codes and regulations, or by the insurer of the property.”
The DCHS, which has managed and mowed the property for many years, would like a dedicated funding source for repair and maintenance, according to organization treasurer Trish Speiser. This would help promote better planning, she indicated.
“We really feel that is fair, given that this has been a 50-year partnership,” she said during an interview.
Speiser suggested tapping into the county’s relatively new hotel/motel tax that commissioners approved in 2015, or some other regular source.
”I feel we really do bring in tourism,” she said.
Commissioners provided the historical society with $14,000 this year — having contributed an annual amount for years — along with $4,000 toward a part-time education coordinator from May through October.
That position has allowed AuGlaize Village to maintain set hours (10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month), which Speiser said is helping bring interested persons into Defiance County.
The organization had sought some $30,000 in the past from commissioners, she noted, which would have helped construct sidewalks to make the property more accessible.
Plotts indicated that he would support providing some hotel/motel to the historical society, but not one third of it.
“I don’t think this board (of three county commissioners) will ever agree to that,” he said during an interview
Plotts said commissioners want to review the historical society’s financial information before proceeding further.
In the end, he explained, they agreed to allow Commissioner Ryan Mack to begin negotiating a new agreement with the organization.
In other business Thursday, commissioners:
• received county maintenance supervisor Ron Cereghin’s monthly report.