By Tim Cox
MENDON -- Village council members formally voted to allow the Parkway school building in their town to be demolished after it is abandoned at the end of the school year.
The decision came as no surprise -- village officials have been moving for months toward the eventual demolition of the structure, but had talked about some scenarios involving keeping newer portions of the building. A citizens committee is separately working toward finding grant funding to help replace the old school with a new community building.
The school has served as a gathering place for many community events through the years, including the annual Firecracker Festival. The Mendon building was constructed in 1910 and has seen several additions.
Parkway buildings in Mendon, Rockford and Willshire all will likely see the wrecking ball next summer after the district opens a new single site K-12 building on the south edge of Rockford. The consensus among all the towns so far has been that saving the buildings is not economically feasible.
Parkway has Ohio School Facilities Commission money available to help pay for demolition costs. That money goes away after the district transfers ownership of the school properties in each town back to the communities. Mendon officials have asked the district to restore the acreage to a grassy area after the building is torn down. The ball diamonds that also serve as a hub of the community will remain.
Mendon committee members previously have talked about their vision for a modern facility that can hold 350-400 people for wedding receptions, reunions or other gatherings. Committee members are looking closely at successful community building projects in Rockford and Convoy as models.