CIRCLEVILLE — The Roundtown Conservancy, the group behind the Octagon House renovation and revitalization, is set to begin work on projects that might be more visible to the public.
The organization was first awarded a grant in 2006 and have been working to meet different criteria set forth by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) as a part of the Cultural Facilities Grant Program.
Stephanie Sharpnack, president of the Roundtown Conservancy said they now have an exact plan on how to spend the money.
“We now have an exact plan for how to spend [the grant money],” Sharpnack said. “We have a new preservationist and we’re getting the money dispersed.”
In March 2018, the Conservancy hired Heritage Architectural Association, located out of Wheeling, West Virginia, to work on the project. Among the other projects Heritage Architectural Associates have worked on including the Unionville Tavern in Madison, The New Lexington Opera House, and the Olney Friends School in Barnesville.
Sharpnack said most of the work that’s been completed has been work that isn’t visible to the public, like replacing floorboards inside the building, but that’s about to change.
“It’s been a long haul and we’ll be glad to get something more substantial to show people that we’re working on it,” she added. “The other stuff was more hidden, beams under the floor and stuff like that, all smaller amounts of money. People will now be able to see the difference.”
The Octagon House was built in 1855-1856 by George W. Gregg and was scheduled for demolition for the now relocated Walmart before it was moved in 2004, a half-mile from its original location.
Sharpnack recognized that there would be significant more work to do over the next several years but the initial grant payouts will make a dent. This first grant is for $100,000 and was originally acquired with help from Representative John Carey.
“”It’ll take $750,000 to $1 million to complete all the renovations,” Sharpnack commented. “We’ve done a lot of things already to make sure the house is stable and safe from the weather and critters as much as we can. This money will allow us to start actual work. We’ll probably start on the outside to make sure the weather doesn’t get in here. We’ll do more permanent things rather than a stop-gap just to make sure things are okay.”
Steve Avdakov, the architect, along with team members Lisa Schmitdke and Debbie Griffin have been working on the necessary information and paperwork to help move the project forward. He gave credit to the Conservancy for its persistency and relentlessness to move the project forward.
“It’s taken some time due to the bureaucratic nature of some of the funding sources but at the end of the day we’ve gotten it to happen and now we’re really excited,” Avdakov said. “We’ve started our historic structure support and master plan. That’s what this funding will do, help us move that forward.”
Avdakov said they’ve completed thorough research of the building and similar buildings which they’ll use during the renovation process.
“We’re really excited that we’ve gotten the shackles off the funding source and we can move forward and demonstrate to the community that this project will definitely happen and we’re going to do it in an appropriate way honoring the essence of the building for future community use,” he continued.
Avdakov said the wants to continue to the moment of the project this fall into next year.
“Our intent is to bid the project this month and we hope to get some of the work done so then we can continue into next year,” Avdakov added. “We’ll be reaching out to other funding sources demonstrating that we’ve been good stewards of the funding and we’ll use that to keep the momentum on the project.”