NILES Library board buys restaurant-bar to give McKinley project more room

The additional lot gives the library board about 90 feet of Main Street frontage for the project.
NILES -- A piece of downtown history is set for the wrecking ball to make room for another historical attraction.
The McKinley Memorial Library Board will pay $140,000 for the Old Main Ale and Chowder House, 40 S. Main St. Demolition of the restaurant-bar, owned by CRM Entertainment of Niles, will make way for a replica of President William McKinley's birthplace.
"We'll take possession Aug. 16, do asbestos abatement around the end of August, and start demolition by the first of September," said Patrick Finan, library director.
He said the money for the land buy comes from a fund set aside by the library board for the McKinley House project.
Trumbull County property tax records list the total market value of the property and building, constructed in 1903, at $36,800.
Another building, formerly owned by National City Bank, was given to the city and torn down and the parcel given to the library board for the house project.
What's behind purchase: The additional land gives the library board roughly an additional 30 feet of frontage along South Main Street.
"It gives us more room and, aesthetically, it has more appeal coming in to town," Finan said.
McKinley was born Jan. 29, 1843, at the site. His parents had moved from Lisbon between 1840 and 1842 to operate an iron forge.
McKinley was elected president in 1896 and re-elected in 1900. He was shot by an anarchist Sept. 6, 1901, in Buffalo, N.Y., and died Sept. 14, 1901.
Buying the lot also pushes the project back a bit. Construction is expected to start by the end of this year and be done by August 2002.
Re-creation plan: The design will use photographs and descriptions of the house to try to re-create the house where the 25th U.S. president was born.
The rear of the building will house a resource center and library with McKinley materials. A computer lab will be in the basement for public use. Plans also call for a meeting room on the house's second floor.
The front part of the house will be furnished and decorated with antiques and replicas from that period.

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