Granville’s top stories this year

Quaker meetinghouse

The saga of the Quaker meetinghouse on Quaker Street started at the very beginning of the year when residents learned it was slated for demolition.

The building was originally built from 1828 to 1830 as a Quaker meeting house after the local ‘Society of Friends,’ split into two factions — the Orthodox Quakers and the Hicksite Quakers. The meeting house functioned as such until the late 1880s, when the Quakers ceased to use it and the Granville school district took it over, said Edith Sparling, former town historian.

Sparling was a main player in opposition against the razing of the building, in which a number of townspeople implored the owner, Tom Burke, to reconsider.

Burke and his brother, Jerry, own or operate at least 35 Dunkin’ Donut franchises, sparking speculation that the plot would become one such eatery.

However, Burke maintained through the months of permit acquiring and demolition that he has no immediate plans for the building.

“I don’t have any specific or firm plans; no decisions have been made,” Burke said in January.

The actual demolition was delayed due to the presence of asbestos in the building, which required a special process.

Local historians and officials were looking into the possibility of moving the building, and they asked Burke if he would be willing to cooperate with such an action. Though he was not interested in paying to do that himself, he did say he would allow someone else to do so.

“If someone wanted to take that and move it, and it was a viable option, then I’d consider it,” Burke said,” he said.

The issue grew into a controversial and prominent one as many people realized the historic value of the building and vied to keep it standing. In February, Town Supervisor Matt Hicks sent Burke a letter requesting he donate the building, so that it remain next to the historic cemetery goes with it.

But on April 16, the nearly 200-year-old building was demolished.

“It’s heartbreaking to see that building go” said Nancy Williams, who was on the forefront of a group of locals who pushed to keep it standing, at that time.

Pile of rubble

About 14 months later, the prominent news in Granville remained the pile of rubble on Main Street.

The debris was leftover from a Nov. 12, 2012 fire that destroyed two buildings, in which the presence of asbestos was detected, complicating cleanup efforts.

Insurance companies for the former buildings’ owners, Beverly Koffler and Constance Rojcewicz, hired Edgeco Environmental, Inc., to remove the pile. However, Edgeco came sporadically and took only one load every several weeks for months, despite promises to complete the job in early summer.

“I understand that these cancellations are not directly within your control but this project has gone on way too long…Simply put, there are no more acceptable excuses,” Village Clerk Rick Roberts wrote in a letter last month, which explained the possibility of citations.

The action came after Edgeco offered an endless line of excuses from expired permits to broken vehicles for why they were not finishing the project. Residents and officials alike complained about the “eyesore” of the pile on the village’s Main Street and attempted to expedite the process.

Once the village threatened legal action against Edgeco, the company kicked up the cleanup efforts into high gear, but still dragged it out for another few weeks.

“This is something that could possibly cost the village money, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s beyond the village’s not getting involved with this,” Mayor Brian LaRose said early last month.

Attorney John Winn, who has been representing the former buildings’ owners and following the case closely, said he expected they would look at selling their respective plots once the area was clear.

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