Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Officials consent to school's demolition



By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo]
The 155-year-old schoolhouse at Tylersville and Cox roads will be demolished soon.
Enquirer file photo

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Efforts to save the 155-year-old schoolhouse at Tylersville and Cox roads from the wrecking ball have ended.

The little red brick building will be demolished within the next week or so, a victim of the project to widen Cox Road.

On the recommendation of the township trustees and County Engineer Greg Wilkens, Butler County commissioners on Monday gave consent to the demolition.

Township and county officials spent weeks exploring the possibility of moving the old No. 7 schoolhouse. But they finally decided it would cost too much and would further delay completion of the road-widening project.

"There's no point spending time, money and energy on something few people seem to care about," said Commissioner Mike Fox, who had worked to save the schoolhouse.

West Chester Township had been interested in the building, but decided against it when the county declined to move the house and pave a dirt road into the township's Voice of America Park.

Township officials decided they would rather have the county pave the park's entry road than move the schoolhouse.

Demolition began on Oct. 7, but it was halted when MetroParks of Butler County offered to move the building to its portion of the Voice of America Park on Cox Road and preserve it.

But that plan collapsed when the contractor told officials he couldn't move the house in less than 30 days, and that the cost of moving it would be higher because of the distance from Tylersville and Cox to the MetroParks site, on the northernmost portion of VOA Park.

Moving the schoolhouse would have cost about $300,000. The $4.3 million Cox Road widening project already had cost about $500,000 more than it should have because of delays associated with the schoolhouse, according to township and county officials.

Cox Road is being widened from two lanes to five lanes from Tylersville Road to Hamilton-Mason Road to accommodate increasing traffic as commercial development booms along Cox Road near Interstate 75.

Enquirer reporter Jennifer Edwards contributed to this story. E-mail skemme@enquirer.com or jedwards@enquirer.com



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