Moving Forward – May 25th

Community Updates

Construction renovations continue on pace in the Central and North Cluster buildings in downtown Van Wert. Stabilizing materials have been ordered for the Oddfellows Lodge building of the Central Cluster at 101-103 E. Main St. The plan for the Oddfellows meeting lodge is to create two luxury lofts. One will be 1,600 sq. ft., the other 1,800 sq. ft.

The historic third-floor Oddfellows meeting lodge has 2”x24” beams to supplement the structure of the existing roof trusses. These 20’ long pieces will be attached to the roof joists to support the current structures already installed. Many of the existing joists are structurally unsound and must be replaced.

First the foundation, then the roof.

At 105 E. Main St., the original roof has been removed; the construction of the new roof will be finished this week. The original roof is being replaced to make space for the elevator shaft serving all three floors of the Oddfellows Lodge building. The first floor of 105 E. Main St. will serve as the building’s residential lobby, and the elevator will provide accessibility to the other apartments in the building. In addition to the elevator, a new stairwell is being constructed in the back of the lobby area. The new switchback-style staircase will allow access from the courtyard to the apartments above.

108 N. Washington St., also part of the Oddfellows Lodge, has undergone extensive foundation work. The existing foundation consisted of flagstone walls, haphazard wood framing, and disintegrating brick columns. Updated foundation work features solidly tuckpointed stone walls, properly laid block wall infills and steel lintels, and poured concrete footers acting as anchors for the new columns. Pressure-treated 6”x6” dimensional lumber will complete the pier and beam system.

Inside and out.

Additional work in the Oddfellows Lodge incorporates a new plumbing system and sewer drain. Construction crews are pressure testing the plumbing systems being installed in the Oddfellows Lodge before connecting the utility lines to city plumbing. Construction crews are simultaneously making progress on the exterior work, too.

The concrete parging, a layer applied over bricks for decorative or waterproofing purposes, on the Oddfellows Lodge has undergone refurbishment. This parging, applied around the 1940s, looked in great condition in some places and seemingly fell into disrepair in others. Construction crews chipped the parging back 8” from the east to reveal a full window sill and to align it with the storefronts below. New concrete parging will be applied to cover the faux-stone look of the current design and will be painted blue.

Rising up. Laying a new base.

In the North Cluster, pier and beam foundation stabilization has begun in all five building spaces. Workers have begun setting concrete footers and beam lumber in the Miller Brothers building (117-119 N. Washington St.) and the McGavren Block (121-125 N. Washington St.) A new subfloor was installed at 125 N. Washington. Water damage rotted the original supports causing the old flooring to fall into the basement. The new subfloor will be covered with hardwood flooring.

Making a Difference

Van Wert Forward continues to move downtown revitalization forward by renovating spaces that have been abandoned for decades. The VWCF was honored last week with the 2022 Making a Difference award from Northwest State Community College in recognition of this project and other VWCF initiatives. This prestigious award is an honor to receive, and the recognition for such an accomplishment falls on the shoulders of our donors. Thank you to Northwest State for this honor, and to our donors for making this possibility a reality.

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,