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Historical society clears hurdle in acquisition

WARREN — The Trumbull County Historical Society has scaled another hurdle in its process to acquire a historical home along the city’s historic Millionaire’s Row for a new headquarters.

It is partnering with the Western Reserve Port Authority and Warren for a seamless transition of the Owen Morgan house on Mahoning Avenue NW from the city to port authority to the historical society for $1.

The city is barred from transferring the property to the historical society, but the not to the port authority, which under Ohio law, can transfer it to the historical society without having to go out to bid.

It’s a similar to what occurred with the former SCOPE senior center near the intersection of West Market Street and Main Avenue NW.

“We’re able to do that without having to go out to bid,” said John Moliterno, executive director of the port authority. “We’re happy to help because it allows us to facilitate that transfer (of the Owen Morgan house) … instead of letting the building sit empty.”

The port authority board on Wednesday approved the transfer.

Renovation on the building, “fingers crossed,” historical society Executive Director Meghan Reed said, will start in the spring. The work should take about a year and is cost about $120,000 — all of which has been donated already.

“We should be able to move in, move our offices into the building by the spring of 2020,” Reed said.

The move allows the society to expand and get out of the John Stark Edwards House on Monroe Street NW to free up space there and cut down on wear and tear of the structure, which is the oldest remaining house in Warren.

Plans for the Morgan House include the creation of a 21st century classroom to be used by students who visit the historical society, a research library that will be open to the public and a community room for meetings.

A planned second phase would be an addition to the building.

The Owen Morgan home was built in the 1890s by Owen Morgan, who owned a company that manufactured carriages for Packard automobiles. During the 1970s, it became the home of the City Health Department, and then the Public Defender’s office in the 1980s.

The building was deemed no longer needed for municipal purposes by city council and was placed up for public auction in 2017, but received no bids.

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