Local contractors offer to demolish Tavern Building free of charge


By Matt Clevenger

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TROY — A local group of German Baptist contractors has offered to dismantle the controversial Tavern Building located on West Main Street free of charge, if the court decides to allow demolition of the building to proceed.

“We don’t have a dog in the fight,” Gerry Wagoner, owner of WRI Applications LLC said. “We just care about the community, and maybe providing a unique solution to a unique problem.”

Other contractors involved in the proposal include J Crane, D.A. Bowman Construction, Fisher and others, Wagoner said.

“It’s a serious offer from serious contractors,” he said. “We had about 100 people who had verbally committed to helping, if we would just be able to get clearance to do it.”

“There’s just a lot of credible people around here who are willing to provide a volunteer solution,” Wagoner said. “We wouldn’t be paid for it; most of us have our own liability insurance and worker’s compensation.”

According to Wagoner, the idea for the offer started a few months ago, after a conversation he had with a friend who had been forced to detour around the road closing on West Main Street with a trailer.

“That’s what brought the topic up,” Wagoner said. “We said, what would it look like if a bunch of German Baptist contractors volunteered to just dismantle the building, as a grassroots community effort?”

The offer depends on the outcome of current legal disputes involving the Tavern Building, Wagoner said.

“It may not happen, but it’s kind of a neat idea,” he said

Damaged by tornadoes in 2020, the building is currently the subject of a court case filed by neighboring property owners and involving a local organization, the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance (THPA), seeking to block the building’s demolition.

The THPA declined to comment for this story.

The contractors have discussed the offer with the building’s owner, Randy Kimmel, and Troy Mayor Robin Oda, Wagoner said.

“I posted it on the Troy Facebook page a couple of weeks ago,” Wagoner said. “People were really excited about it. It got the attention of Robin Oda, the mayor; she reached out to me. I met with her last Tuesday.”

Attorneys representing Randy Kimmel declined to comment for this story. Oda confirmed that she met with Wagner, but declined to comment on the court cases involving the Tavern Building.

“It continues to be tied up in court,” she said.

“It’s kind of like a barn-raising in reverse,” Wagoner said of the group’s proposal. “I don’t think it would take as long as everybody thinks. Worst case scenario, which allows for weather, I would say a week and a half; best case, probably a week or maybe even less.”

“It’s not really as big as you think,” he said of the Tavern Building, noting that his company installed the roof on the Kettering Tower Building in Dayton. “In order to do it safely and efficiently, you just do it brick-by-brick; it’s fairly simple.”

“From what I’ve seen, there’s almost like an emotional determination to save it when it’s not worth saving,” Wagoner said. “That’s what happens, I think, when people’s pride gets involved. They’re determined to win at any cost, and then the cost begins to be written to the community, they end up paying the price.”

“I think shutting the road off, however painful, was probably the best approach, and it should motivate people to find a solution,” he said. “Would it collapse on them? Probably not, but you can’t guarantee that it wouldn’t.”

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