LEETONIA Groups collaborate on old bank

Council members have said there's no village money to maintain the building.
LEETONIA -- Three village groups are banding together to occupy the former Sky Bank building and plan its use.
Mark Butler, president of the Leetonia-Washingtonville Area Chamber of Commerce, who is a member of the Leetonia Community Foundation board of directors, said the chamber, the foundation and the Leetonia Historical Society are interested in either taking over stewardship or ownership of the two-story building at 243 Main St.
Village officials had hoped to turn the building into a community center and relocate some village offices there.
Sale discussed: In recent weeks, however, they have decided the village cannot afford to maintain it and have been discussing selling the building.
Village officials accepted the donation of the former Sky Bank in August after bank officials decided to close it in June. Bank officials made the donation in the hopes the village could use it as a community center.
Butler said the historical society needs a place to store items that are continually being donated. With the bicentennial celebrations of both Ohio and Columbiana County coming in 2003, Butler said an office may be needed to coordinate those local efforts.
He said members of each group also hope the former bank can be used as a community center -- the way bank officials intended when they made the donation.
"The village has no funding to make that happen," Butler said. "We are all willing to do our part to help them out -- to make something happen."
Butler said the chamber and the foundation probably will handle the financial end and the historical society will provide volunteers to staff a museum and community center.
Making plans: He said the next step is for representatives of the three groups to meet and make plans to present to the village council.
"We have to work together and look at the options," he said. "We have to decide what's the best plan for the good of the whole community, not just what's good for one of us."

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