Moving Forward – June 15

Rising Up

Construction of the Oddfellows Lodge elevator shaft is coming to a close. Once the shaft is completed, crews can begin installing the elevator car into the largest building in Phase One. The elevator will operate using a hoist beam for stabilization. The hoist beams will be used for installation purposes to support, raise, and lower components of the elevator, and for the operation of the elevator. Hoist beams act as an anchor point for lifting the car, rails, motor, and other building components during installation and then transform into an operational capacity when installation is complete. Crew members can use the beams as a connection point for fall suppression devices when positioning the shaft’s internal hardware.  Hoist beams are often installed 2” or more below the roof surface to provide space for any elevator rigging that needs installing. With the additional space needed for rigging, an additional roof protrusion was built in the newly raised structure and sealed off. 

We Have Stepped Up Our Game

Additional work in that same area includes a new switchback staircase. With the elevator shaft work finishing up, the building is being prepped to start construction on the new staircase. The staircase will have light from the lightwell on the north side (the north side faces the courtyard) with the south side flush to the elevator shaft. To build the new staircase and elevator a new roof was built above 105 E. Main St. raising the ceiling height of the current space. The new roof has been completed, including the finalization of the rubber placement. The building’s original roof has also been removed. Moreover, this removal creates one additional apartment space in the Oddfellows Lodge. The 713 sq. ft. apartment will be a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and overlook E. Main. St to the south.  

Congratulations to The Warehouse

The Oddfellows Lodge is generating excitement furthermore, as a The Warehouse: Design Studio and Event Space has signed a lease agreement with Van Wert Forward. The second business to sign for a Phase One space, The Warehouse will be moving back into their old space, 108 N. Washington St., once construction has wrapped up there, sometime in May 2023. The Warehouse has been a long-time stakeholder of Van Wert Forward, as the business was temporarily relocated into its current space, 105 W. Main St. in August of 2021. Warehouse owner Amy Covey shared some of her feelings about the project saying, “The Warehouse is beyond excited to partner with Van Wert Forward and move back into our historic space. The potential in this safe, modernized building will allow us to better serve our guests, host events that create memories for a lifetime, and craft experiences that leave our community wanting more. We can’t wait till our operation returns to N. Washington St.”

Making Connections at the State Level

Van Wert Forward is also beginning to see recognition at the state level for the impact on the quality of life the project is having in Van Wert. The Greater Ohio Policy Center, an organization known for championing urban revitalization and sustainable growth, recognized Van Wert Forward as the 2022 Private Sector Champion. Previous winners of this award include ProMedica (Toledo, OH), and The Model Group (Cincinnati, OH, and one of the lead developers of Van Wert Forward). The Private Sector Champion Award “recognizes a private sector individual or entity that has demonstrated a commitment to and excellence in investing in existing communities and strengthening local economies in Ohio. Their contributions foster a holistic approach to sustainable development, leading to environmental, social, and economic prosperity.” This award is exciting, very affirming of the work being done downtown, and most excitingly, the development is being discussed across the state. Other communities the size of Van Wert that have been struggling with deteriorating buildings, a lack of modern business spaces, and enough affordable housing, are looking to our county to learn the precedent our community is set in terms of revitalization.

The VWCF focuses on creating a well-resourced and thriving quality of life for our community by supporting purpose, inspiring growth, and building the future. Van Wert Forward is focused on transforming quality of place in our downtown built environment. Questions about The Van Wert County Foundation and Van Wert Forward can be directed to Joel Germann,