Falling bricks lead Bellefontaine to close sidewalk

The sidewalk in front of a building in Bellefontaine remains closed after a safety scare.

Police were notified that bricks had fallen from the building, 214 S. Main St., last weekend, Bellefontaine Mayor Ben Stahler said.

Safety precautions were taken to block off the sidewalk and parking spots next to the building.

“It’s an older building,” he said. “We don’t want any accidents from a passerby, a pedestrian.”

City leaders met with the property owner, Will Greider, on Monday, Stahler said. He’s been given seven days to make repairs to the building. He is expected to to use a lift to repair the facade on Saturday, Stahler said, and all repairs should be done in time to open the sidewalk by early next week.

“We’re optimistic that the repairs, the needed repairs, will take place within the seven days and that we can open that area back up,” he said.

If repairs aren’t done in time, he said, the property owner could be cited.

There are many historic buildings in the city, Stahler said, and leaders appreciate their value.

“We don’t necessarily look at our older buildings as if they need to go,” he said. “We just want them to be safe.”

The renovation of the building is a big project, Greider said, and will take time. He intends to fully renovate it, he said.

Many challenges come with renovating historic buildings, said Jason Duff, founder of Bellefontaine Ohio Properties.

He’s renovated a dozen buildings in downtown Bellefontaine.

“There’s a number of unique elements with the type of materials that were used sometimes 100 years ago,” Duff said.

An owner needs to be proactive to prevent safety hazards, he said.

“Work with professionals in your town to understand what preventative things you can do today to save you from a serious problem later on,” he said.

Restoring historic buildings is worth the extra work, he said.

“The easy answer sometimes for people is to just tear it down,” he said. “But a lot of these buildings are the historic character and fabric of our community.

Once repairs are made, Stahler said, the building will be inspected by the city before the sidewalk and parking spots are reopened.

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