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Armory fund reaches $10,000

January 30, 2008
By Evan Bevins,
The check was only for $281.79, but it meant a lot more to Mike McCarthy and other proponents of revitalizing the former Ohio National Guard Armory on Front Street.

That check from the Citizens Armory Preservation Society brought the balance of unencumbered cash earmarked for the armory restoration project to an even $10,000, said McCarthy, president of the group.

The $10,000 mark “is a goal we’ve been pursuing for probably 10 years,” McCarthy said Tuesday after turning the check in to the Marietta Area Community Foundation Armory Restoration Fund.

“This $10,000 in cash is unspent cash that has been raised in addition to the $50,000 in improvements that have already been done,” he said.

McCarthy said that money could be used to draw grants to help with renovations to the armory.

A variety of fundraising methods and donations have built the fund, but McCarthy said the latest nearly $300 contribution came from recent sales of postcards and small replica paintings of the armory at local stores.

With the C.A.P.S. money and other funding, it looks like the preliminary design of the long-discussed renovation could start this year.

“We have in hand $1.25 million,” said Marietta Mayor Michael Mullen. “We anticipate some other grants coming through in the next few months that will get us over the $1.5 million figure.”

Other funding has come from federal grants and a bequest from the Emma Gutberlet family estate.

Mullen said $1.7 million to $1.8 million, plus additional “soft costs” for design work, is needed to renovate the 93-year-old structure.

The revamped armory will serve as what the federal government calls “an intermodal hub,” said McCarthy, adding that, in layman’s terms, it will be a welcome center.

“People will arrive by one mode of transportation and can leave by another,” he said.

Once the project is complete, the nonprofit WASCO Inc. will manage the facility. The Marietta/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau would have its offices there, and the River City Farmers Market will likely have some type of presence.

McCarthy said he would like to see the armory serve as a central location for tickets to any event or attraction in Washington County. There are also plans for the Washington County Public Library to provide programs there.

The armory was acquired by the city of Marietta in 1997, five years after the Ohio National Guard moved out. It currently serves as a backdrop for a variety of city activities, including the Mayor’s Jubilee summer music series.

Fact Box

Armory funding
¯ $533,000 bequest from the Emma Gutberlet estate.
¯ $418,000 federal transportation grant.
¯ $252,379 from the National Scenic Byways Program.
¯ $10,000 in the Citizens Armory Preservation Society fund at the Marietta Area Community Foundation.



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