Historical society faces dilemmas saving oldest house in Howland

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HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A deadline is now in place to try and save what’s believed to be the oldest house in Howland. It’s the yellow house at 82 and 46, built in the 1830s.

It needs moved so the Ohio Department of Transportation can build its diverging diamond interchange.

To save it, the Howland Historical Society must submit a plan to ODOT by August 17.

Cindee Mines of the Howland Historical Society realizes what she’s facing in an August 17 deadline to save the township’s historic yellow house.

“Yes, well, don’t call me in the next couple weeks,” she said.

The Howland Historical Society needs to find a way to buy, move and rebuild the yellow house that stands in the way of the soon-to-be-built diverging diamond interchange at 46 and 82.

The August 17 deadline was set Tuesday during a conference call.

“What we wanted to hear from them is really what their plan was moving forward with this house,” said Ray Marsch of ODOT.

“I’ve offered the historical society multiple options to acquire the property,” said Niles realtor Jason Altobelli, who owns the yellow house. “It was a foreclosed property. It was abandoned. It was owned by a bank. Nobody cared about it three to four years ago. Nobody even knew it existed.”

Altobelli fixed it up, then rented it to the Howland Historical Society for its headquarters. As far as donating the house to the historical society:

“I have a lot of unknowns that are coming at me. A property take, I’ll be left with a property with no access. There’s a lot of variables. I have a mortgage. I have other things that are in play that a straight donation might not make sense for me,” Altobelli said.

Before ODOT will even discuss moving the house, the historical society must own it.

“The offer we had from the owner, $20,000 to $25,000. There’s not been anything definite,” Mines said.

Altobelli would not say what he’s asking but was willing to talk.

“I’ve been a good partner from the word go, and I’ll continue to be that way, and I hope everyone understands and appreciates that,” he said.

The Howland Historical Society has a place to put the house — a donated piece of land about a mile away across from the middle school.

The estimate to move it was $30,000 to $40,000.

One idea is to possibly remove the roof and make two trips. A lot of ideas, a lot of if’s — all of which must be finalized by August 17.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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