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New Hubbard Meeting House to blend old, new

HUBBARD — After many years of planning and fundraisers, including the annual Taste of Hubbard, work is set to begin next spring on the Harding Park Meeting House building near the park’s main entrance.

Members of the Harding Park Meeting House Building Committee, who have spent many years planning for the project, say the new structure will be for future generations to see and use for years to come.

It will incorporate the bell tower from the former Hubbard Presbyterian Church meeting house built in 1857.

“We want to keep this history for future generations to see,” said Linda Clark, a committee member.

Committee member Mary Buchenic said a woodworker has been able to reclaim some of the original meeting house wood to be incorporated for the new project.

When finished, the structure — which will be located across from where the bell tower is today — will be able to be used for weddings and other social gatherings.

Clark said when completed the park will have “a very unique structure.”

“This will be in a beautiful park setting … It will be the first thing you see when you come into the park. A lot of hard work has been done to get this project started. It will be a blessing to have this completed for future generations” Clark said.

Buchenic said the current bell tower will be incorporated into the project and likely be perched along the top of the meeting house.

Tom Papa, committee president, said the project was approved more than 20 years ago, and the committee has been working on getting it started since then.

“We have been holding our breath ever since we began to see where we would go with this. We are very happy that work will begin next spring,” he said.

Buchenic said the committee is having Katie Spires, an architect with BSHM Architects, design an outdoor structure that is not enclosed.

Buchenic said the project is under $80,000.

Key to the project is maintenance of the original church meeting house for the facility.

The structure will have two parallel trellises with the church bell and a percola. She said there will be a courtyard in between the two rows of trellises, the percola with the bell in between.

Dave Kyle, a committee member, said the committee has worked very delingently with things changing over the course of time.

“We are happy with what we will go forward with. This will be great for the park and community and great for the committee to see all the hard work finally become a reality,” he said.

Buchenic said Kerola Family PI&I Motor Express Trucking is helping to transport the wood for the project from one location to another.

Harding Park is a large park with playing fields, playground and pavilion located in the city’s southeastern section.

An annual fundraiser Taste of the Valley was not able to be held this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. Buchenic said the event involves nine months of planning to get restaurants and other businesses lined up. The event is held the last Sunday in September.

“We appreciate all the help and support from the public over the years,” she said.

The committee is also currently preparing for the 100th anniversary of Harding Park in 2022. Jacob Kalver of Youngstown gave the 37. 6 acres of woodland and stream park area to the city.

Hubbard accepted the park which was named in honor of President Warren G. Harding, who was a friend of Kalver,

The committee is looking for photos, newspaper articles and other memorabilia about the park for displays for the anniversary.

Buchenic said people can email photos, information and other items which can be sent to hubbardhardingpark@gmail.com.

Donations for the project can be sent to Harding Park Meeting House, P.O. Box 177, Hubbard, Ohio with checks made out to HPMH Harding Park Meeting House.

The annual Taste of Hubbard event also included a vintage car cruise, an auction of various items, and music. The event drew hundreds of people to taste the cuisine of locally owned restaurants, cafes and bakeries in Hubbard and the surrounding communities. The event was organized for many years by the Harding Park Meeting House Building Committee, Hubbard CARES, Hubbard Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, and the Harding Park Board.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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