Circleville – Director of Public Service Jim Stanley gave Circleville Council during the Committee of the Whole an update on the Belvedere construction this week telling Council that they will have to pay a little more.
Circleville Council has approved the restoration of the 150-year-old Coppola on top of the Historical City Hall located at 127 South Court Street in April.
The structure that is currently in disrepair will be restored and kept historical. It once held a bell because the location was historically a fire station before it became city hall, it even housed horses. The bell is currently in great shape and is located in the City municipal building across the street.
During the City Council financial meeting in April, a cost of around 20,000 dollars was discussed on top of the 489,346 dollars to fix the Belvedere to make the bell operational. Now Circleville says that they will have to add 70,000 to that bill.
“When installing a new column covering the construction crew found that the center of that column was rotted, they drilled the other eight columns and found that they all have rot. Unfortunately, it uncovered some very unsafe conditions,” said Stanley, “They need to be corrected before finishing the rest of the work. Fortunately, we found this before it possibly could have collapsed, it could have fallen through these chambers or fallen off during the Pumpkin Show. One thing to remember is most likely Circleville has one of the oldest more historic Council Chambers, the Coppola hasn’t had much upkeep in its 150 years of life.”
Funds to restore the Coppola come from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
“This is the second time Stanley has been back with things they have uncovered,” said Council President Barry Keller, “When you dig into these restoration projects and start removing things you uncover issues sometimes. It’s news you don’t want to hear.”
“It’s unfortunate that we got more than we bargained for,” said Councilwoman Sherry Theis, “but we are lucky, this could have been a disaster, it could have fallen and cost millions and millions of dollars, or someone could have been killed. It’s a blessing that we had these ARPA funds to repair it. The last time it was repaired, who knows how many years ago, we were told it wasn’t done properly, it’s a good thing we are getting it done.”
Stanley explained to us that most of the repairs over the years have been cosmetic and that he doesn’t believe that anyone has dug deep into the structural pieces of the 150-year-old Coppola and where the cost is.
In a press release the Durable Restoration company said that starting in late May 2023, the belvedere on top of Circleville’s City Hall will get a facelift by The Durable Restoration Company. Most excitingly, the original bell will be back atop City Hall after several years of storing the bell in a separate building. The bell will fit into a new stainless-steel A-frame in the building’s belvedere. Durable Restoration will replace all existing columns in the Belvedere with new fiberglass columns. They will then remove the current metal roof and replace it with a new one made of copper. Lastly, they will install a new scalloped copper trim on the base of the belvedere to match the new copper roof.
The project has been on the back burner for years with a slow degradation of the structure. The council says that the bell will be able to be rung during special occasions. Construction will last through the Pumpkin show and is said to finish by November.