UPDATE: 2/14/2012 10:31 PM
"A deadline that we may not be able to achieve is looming, and consequently we need to put more resources on the table to try to get that accomplished. I know councilmen and administration is going to work diligently to try to get that accomplished over the next couple weeks and still try to keep the project on track, and hope we get some help from the federal government to extend that grant deadline," says Councilman Michael Mullen.
Marietta city council members are putting the Armory Square Project on hold until more funding is available. This project has been in the planning process for months, but time and money constraints are causing problems.
"The shortfall in construction cost is setting us back a little bit, but I'm hopeful that at the end of the meeting tonight that everyone on council is very much in support of the armory. We just have to make sure we have all the funds," says Armory Square Inc. Secretary Jan Powell.
The city does have some federal grant money, but the time for extensions approaches and if those extensions are denied the project will be near impossible to achieve.
"After today's meeting I think you can come away and say 80% of the people involved at this meeting were for the armory project, but unfortunately there's a lot of technicalities. You know money would cure everything of course, but there's still some technicalities to overcome and then work on raising a little bit more money. I think the project is doable," says local small business owner Jim Caporale.
Many close to the project are pledging their time to find money through donations and grants. This step back from the project is simply to reorganize. It's not a retreat.
A project to restore and make better use of a historic Marietta landmark.
"The Armory Square project has approximately 3 million dollars worth of donations, grants, tax credits, and this is all done already. Done. It's more than enough to complete the project," says local business owner and Friends Of The Armory treasurer, James Caporale.
In the works, a high-tech, and state of the art visitors center and multipurpose building.
Councilman, Michael Mullen says, "the Armory Square will have a great deal of public value. That is as a gathering place for the many, many events that bring people to our historic downtown, as a transportation hub so you can get a bus to Columbus or Cincinnati or just to Belpre. As a place where we can welcome visitors to our community to support the 160 million dollar annual visitor economy."
Many think the Armory Square is the perfect renovation for a growing Front Street, but there's one big dollar sign standing in the way.
"The present situation is we need 300 thousand dollars to start the construction. The problem has arisen that between the time we can close on the tax credits and the time that it's necessary to start construction because of all the other grants. The time constraints are very very narrow," Caporale says. He adds, "if we stop now, it's probably gonna cost a half a million dollars just to tear the building down. That's a half a million dollars for nothing. You get nothing in the end but an empty lot."
Because Marietta isn't an empty town.
"Marietta is a town that does things, we build bike trails, and aquatic centers and do downtown revitalization. This is all part of that picture to keep people coming to town, to make the community alive and to make this the very special place that it is to live work, call home," Mullen says.
Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews tells WTAP, he's also for the restoration project if there's a viable business plan is in the works, and all details need to fall into place before it happens.
He adds a levy would be necessary for the historic landmark to stand on it's own two feet.
If you want to donate to help the armory renovations click on the hot button.
$300,000 in 30 days. The Citizens Armory Preservation Society (CAPS) is working to secure thousands of dollars to renovate Armory Square in Marietta.
President of CAPS, Mike McCarthy, says funding for out of pocket expenses will cost $300,000 and will secure the bridge loan from People's Bank. Once that money is raised, McCarthy says grant money will take care of the costs to renovate the building. He adds, this is the last hurdle to jump before work can begin and a multi-million dollar tourist economy can further develop in Washington County.
"There's a lot of sentiment with it, but this doesn't have a whole lot to do with sentiment," McCarthy explains. "It has everything to do with economics, revitalization, improving the downtown, staying competitive and helping the people in everyway. This is a community building, there's a lot of people, we think at least 80%, who want this project done. Now, it's the final hour. It's time to raise the cash and get it done."
CAPS is taking charge in fundraising efforts. Donations will be accepted for at least the next 30 days. Donation can be sent to the address below.
Marietta Community Foundation
P.O. Box 77
Marietta, Ohio 45750-0077
A majority of city council members agreed to open the bidding for construction on the project.
This proposal will be discussed at the next city council meeting for a final decision.
Mayor Michael Mullen says they are in a great place to move forward
He also says they have been resourceful in getting grants in place to avoid burdening the city of Marietta's taxpayers.
But one mayoral candidate says that these grants funding the restoration come with problems.
"Gone out and searched for funding pretty much indiscriminately and we're trying to serve too many masters so i think that's a case where grants are not really a good thing," Mayoral Candidate, Jon Grimm says.
The restoration project will cost an estimated 3 point 3 million dollars to complete.
Mayor Mullen hopes to get a contract completed in the next ninety days and estimates that once construction begins it will take between 6 to 9 months to restore the building.
"Public Meeting Held Sunday To Organize Marietta Armory Plans" - February 11th, 2012
"Partnership Builds Armory" - October 20th, 2006
"Grant Money For The Marietta Armory " - December 11th, 2007
"Armory Gets $250,000 For Project " - May 19th, 2008
"One Step Close In The Armory Project" - May 28th, 2008
"Stimulus Projects Underway, Others Still Trying to Get Funding" - July 26th, 2009
"Design Nearly Complete for Armory Square" - August 4th, 2009
"Governor Strickland Announces Tax Credit for Armory Project" - July 29th, 2009