RIPLEY - The Ripley Town Council is trying to transform an eyesore into a town treasure.
During the June 12 town council meeting, officials received a proposal from the Ripley Beautification Committee to create an open-air atrium using the Oddfellows building located on Main Street. The building has been condemned and already partially removed.
The proposal calls for the front and two sides of the building to be left standing. Within this space, trees, shrubs, a sidewalk and benches would be arranged to make it a place where residents can visit or spend a quiet moment.
Photo by David Prenatt
Six drawings were submitted by the Ripley Beautification Committee to illustrate a proposal to transform the Ripley Oddfellows building into an outdoor atrium.
Ripley Supervisor Doug Bowen said the town could apply for a maximum of $200,000 in matching grant funds for the project. While the council approved a bond application to raise the town's share of the matching grant, Bowen said they would first seek other grants before using the bond.
"Our goal is to get enough combination of grants that can be matched to the state's grant," he said. "We hope we won't have to use the bond application."
If the proposal moves ahead, Bowen said work could begin next year.
Regarding another eyesore in the same area, Bowen said the town is moving closer to being able to tear down the Corner Bar, located at the intersection of Routes 20 and 76. "The process of applying for permits to remove the structure has been slow, but is progressing," he said.
"We're going to get the Corner Bar down someday," Bowen said. We have two permits to go."
Town council agreed to sell the Corner Bar sign to Josh Miller for $376. Miller was the high bidder accepted out of three applicants.
The council also granted a special use permit to a Mennonite group that seeks to build a 6,500 square foot structure to be used as a church and school. They accepted a negative declaration issued by the State Environmental Quality Review Act stating that the construction would have no impact on the environment.
The council affirmed its support for a project spearheaded by board member Robert McIntosh to seek to create a Veterans Cemetery in Ripley. The nearest such cemetery is 113 miles away. Supporters can sign a petition at the town hall.