On the transfer ...
Sometime soon, Defiance City Hall will become a landlord of sorts when the acquisition of the old Defiance High School and Junior High School property on Arabella Street is completed. Mayor Mike McCann has been an enthusiastic backer of the transaction, and city council has signaled its support as well, although related legislation remained pending heading into tonight’s council meeting.
The administration’s wish is for the city to facilitate a third-party transfer. In a perfect scenario, a new use for the property and the historic 1918 building can be found, probably with some sort of economic interest at stake. This would allow the city to relinquish control of the property, protect the history of Defiance and enhance the downtown in some way. At least that is the desired outcome for many people.
A couple of ideas have surfaced, and some out-of-town interest has been shown, but there is no commitment yet. If something does come about, however, it probably will be quite expensive. So, this could be a lengthy process.
A key part in this plan is being played by the Defiance Area Foundation which has pledged funds for demolition — if no new use for the building is found. Ideally, it won’t come to that, but it’s probably well to remember that the city’s purpose is not to own an old building that — eventually — could cost taxpayers considerable money for maintenance.
A commendable community effort has made the pending plan workable, and all involved deserve recognition for that. Let’s hope the desired outcome can be achieved.