ARCANUM — What began as heated public commentary regarding the future of the former town hall ended with a handshake and encouragement for continued participation at Tuesday’s Arcanum council meeting.
Arcanum resident and former council member Dave Kessler was the first to speak, stating the decision to leave, and the future of, the former town hall, “should have been a public decision.”
“I think it’s inappropriate, and I don’t think it is fair to the village,” said Kessler, stating it was more than a six-person decision with the location of the new administration and police department a public decision, as well.
Kessler offered a more desirable location of downtown or, “on the main drag” while asking about plans for the former building.
“At this moment in time we have no plans,” said Mayor Gregory Baumle, explaining there is interest in the former town hall and, “We had a couple of people walk through the building.”
Jim Piel, Arcanum resident, and a former Arcanum council member shared similar sentiments to Dave Kessler, both on the future of the former town hall and disappointment on the new city building.
“I just think you are being shortsighted in all of this,” said Piel. “You are ignoring history.”
Accusations regarding the care of the former building from bats to bad bricks, windows, and furnace, along with asbestos were followed with Mayor Baumle respecting concerns while standing behind the work of council members.
“These people are serving, they are taking time out of their busy lives,” said Baumle. “They wouldn’t be sitting here if they didn’t want what is best for the village”
“No one wants to see the building go,” continued Baumle, envisioning the former town hall as a future assisted living location or performing arts center. “Some kind of draw of people from outside into Arcanum.”
Baumle thanked Dave Kessler and Jim Piel for sharing their concerns, for wanting what is best for the village, and encouraged citizens to attend meetings.
“Let us know how you feel,” said Baumle. “I like the dialogue.”
Other agenda items discussed:
• An impending job posting for new police chief
• An Old Fashioned Days booth showcasing material on the new wastewater treatment plant and administration building
• A military banner dedication at 1 p.m., Monday, May 27, at the Arcanum Wayne Trail Historical Society, 123 W. George St.
Council meetings are held every second and fourth Tuesday at 7 p.m. The village currently is running operations at All American Clothing Company, 1 Pop Rite Drive.