BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — The overhead doors are gone and the windows are in place. Inside the Whitehouse Park shelter house, more transformation is underway: a new floor, partial kitchen and gas fireplace that will make the 88-year-old building ready for parties this summer and for years to come.
“It will be striking. It will be beautiful. The residents will love it,” administrator Jordan Daugherty said during the April 4 Whitehouse Village Council meeting.
Last fall, council agreed to spend up to $100,000 to improve and repair the 1,350-square-foot public building. A Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, the windowless masonry building was dedicated in September 1935 but had received only minor updates over the years, said Public Works Director Steve Pilcher.
While The Dotson Company of Whitehouse was paid to disassemble and replace the doors, Pilcher’s staff is completing the majority of the work, including converting the fireplace from wood to gas; walling off a service area and adding an operating sink, refrigerator and small counter; replacing the cracked concrete; and painting the interior. This work is expected to be complete by early May.
“We are blessed with employees who jump in and do quality work,” said Mayor Don Atkinson, noting that employees also installed the wall behind Veterans Memorial Park and installed the furniture and arbor at the pocket park across from Local Thyme.
The shelter house project used $75,000 budgeted in the parks fund in 2021 as well as $20,000 from remaining American Rescue Plan Act funds. While the village has pulled back on most of its parks projects in the past few years, most of the projects underway are being handled by staff, Daugherty noted.
“We’re being very cost-conscious,” he said.
During the meeting, council also:
• Listened to Wendy Gehring of the Anthony Wayne Regional Chamber of Commerce detail plans for the 40th annual Cherry Festival on Thursday, June 8 through Saturday, June 10. The festival will include rides, food, vendors, a parade and a beer tent with musicians. Also new this year will be a bake-off and flea market. The grand marshals will be those who contributed to the Cherry Fest over the past 40 years. A Thursday Military Appreciation Night with two bands will raise funds for Task Force 20, Whitehouse American Legion and the Anthony Wayne Local Schools’ Purple Star Generals.
• Approved the use of the park for Whitehouse Summer Concerts, which will take place on Thursdays, May 18, June 15 and July 20 and feature a concert, food trucks and beer sales with proceeds benefiting Whitehouse Library and Destination Whitehouse.
• Heard that Anthony Wayne High School seniors Ethan Crosby and Daniel Gee are organizing a charity event for Toledo Animal Rescue at the Whitehouse Park Pavilion on Sunday, May 7 from noon to 2:00 p.m. The teens will collect dense fabric, such as jeans, to make durable dog toys, and have information on Toledo Animal Rescue adoption on-site, along with two dogs.
• Approved the closure of the alley next to Local Thyme, between Provi-dence and Gilead, for 4:00 p.m. to midnight on Friday, April 21 for a concert on the patio.
• Proclaimed Friday, April 28 as Arbor Day in the village. The Whitehouse Tree Commission has received 15 Tree City USA Awards and 14 Growth Awards from the Tree City USA organization.
• Heard council president Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer say that the Fallen Timbers Union Cemetery District board is recommending the same .46 mills of property tax for 2024. Council members from Waterville Township, Waterville and Whitehouse will meet on Monday, May 8 at 5:30 p.m. in Waterville council chambers to vote on the millage and discuss other aspects of the joint district.
• Approved a contract with Josh Hartbarger, new chief operations officer (see related article). During the Tuesday, April 18 meeting, Atkinson is expected to name Jason Francis – currently the deputy chief – as acting chief.
• Thanked Public Works employee Randy Launder for his 27 years of employment. He retired on March 31.
• Heard Louann Artiaga say that Destination Whitehouse will be placing an order for pavers for the Veterans Memorial Park on Friday, April 21, in order to have them installed in time for Memorial Day. The pavers are a nice way to commemorate those who have served in the military, she said. For more information on the pavers, visit www.whitehouseoh.gov to obtain an order form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.