This week Van Wert Forward’s focus is on the Central Cluster (101-107 E. Main, 108-110 N. Washington). At 101-103 E. Main (the corner of East Main and North Washington), three doorways have been cut out of the load-bearing walls to make space for an American-styled restaurant. To keep the building stable where brick is removed, rectangular steel tubing is used as a header. Masons worked to tuckpoint the brick with mortar to seal the work off from moisture damage. These new doorways will connect the main dining room to a bar, provide access to restrooms, and provide a door to the kitchen from the dining room.
An elevator shaft is being built at 105 E. Main that is paid for in part by a Paul Bruhn Grant from the National Park Service. This elevator will serve as access to 15 apartment units being built in the Central Cluster. As the building has never had elevator access, a new pit had to be dug, the foundation laid, and the shaft structure itself had to be built entirely new. The elevator will have access to all three floors in the Central Cluster. The original building structure did not allow for an elevator to reach all three floors, so the roof on 105 E. Main is being raised. This roof-raising provides elevator access to the entire building and creates one additional apartment unit in the building. The current roofline is still intact; it will be removed once the elevator shaft is finished being constructed. Then the new roofline will be attached to built-up walls.
Directly to the east is 107 E. Main where the old Main Street ice cream building was located. It is still slated for use as a quick-service restaurant. In preparation, two doorways were cut between 107 E. Main and 105 E. Main. These doorways will provide restroom access. While work is progressing on the interior, additional updates are happening on the exterior. Masons are tuckpointing the exterior roofline of 107. Many of the uppermost bricks no longer have mortar attaching them to each other so they are hanging 30 feet in the air simply by friction alone. Without the intervention of Van Wert Forward, it is possible any strong wind could have blown these bricks from their resting space, causing property damage or serious bodily harm.
At 108 N. Washington, (the previous location of The Warehouse) the basement is being stabilized. Many of the basement supports were crumbling, patched incorrectly, or no longer supporting anything due to the building’s intense shift. These outdated supports are being replaced with concrete base footers and wooden support beams.
The building at 110 N. Washington has a similar process happening internally. The entire north wall of 110 N. Washington had begun to shear off from the east and west sides; it is highly likely that without intervention the north wall would have collapsed into the alley within the year. With a business having been operating in the space within the past 12 months, and a different business on the north side of the alley, this lack of sound structural support could have led to tragedy in our hometown.
Moving Forward is a weekly editorial written by Joel Germann, Director of Engagement and Outreach for The Van Wert County Foundation (VWCF). 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. The VWCF is the vision-driving force behind Van Wert Forward, the entity transforming the quality of place in Van Wert by planning, developing, and sustaining our downtown built environment. Moving Forward features community updates from grants awarded by the Van Wert County Foundation and project updates from Van Wert Forward. Questions about The Van Wert County Foundation and Van Wert Forward can be directed to Joel Germann, firstname.lastname@example.org.