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Newton Falls community center seeks state, national recognition

NEWTON FALLS — The village community center has been approved for recognition as a historical building by the Trumbull County Historical Society.

The Newton Falls Preservation Foundation is now looking for recognition at the state and national level.

“What we are trying to preserve is Newton Falls’ history,” said Steve Simpson, foundation president. “Everything and anything we can get is another step forward.”

The center qualified for a tier two plaque with the society because it was altered from its original design, said Cindee Mines, president of the society.

Any building in the county 75 years or older can apply for a historic recognition plaque, and maintained buildings stylistically close to the original structure can receive a plaque, according to the society.

Built in 1941, the United Service Organizations building was a 24/7 facility offering resources and events for employees at the Ravenna Arsenal during World War II, said Connie Smith Talcott, Historic Building Preservation Committee chair and foundation board member. It was later used as a government building and for social events, Talcott said.

Being the only building of its design in the area, Talcott said it’s one of five former USO’s in the nation.

“Many of these buildings have been torn down,” Simpson said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to preserve ours. To have this recognized as a historic building is a big step toward that.”

However, even if the building is recognized nationally, it won’t keep it safe from being torn down, but Talcott said it will make it more difficult.

The belief that historically recognized buildings cannot be torn down is just a myth, Mines said.

“If you draw attention to something, people will say, ‘that’s too important to tear it down,'” Mines said. “People recognize the important aspect in the community.”

After national recognition, Talcott said if the council wants to demolish the building and the foundation wants to preserve it, the National Park Service Department of the Interior would mediate to make a decision.

Also, with national recognition, Simpson said the building may be eligible for grants to repair it.

“There’s so many different things that can be done with that building that have never been done before,” Simpson said.

The building will be reviewed Dec. 8 by the state, Talcott said. If the building is approved as historic, Talcott said it will be reviewed at a national level sometime this spring.

In the meantime, the foundation will present the plaque recognizing the center’s historic significance at noon Saturday. Council members were formally invited to attend, Simpson said.

At a later council meeting, Talcott said foundation members will ask village council to approve placing the plaque on the building.

lcummins@tribtoday.com

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