Bernie Ash

Bernie Ash

The Lebanon City Council authorized $250,000 for renovations at the recently purchased Mitchell House after it faced questions from several citizens about the cost at its recent meeting.

After receiving a “wish list” of renovations and upgrades totaling $750,000, the Council decided to spend much less. Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash said the $250,000 was budgeted for the project. 

The city purchased the Mitchell House in May from Sigma Pi fraternity using $1.4 million from its fund balance to move some city departments into the building because of lack of space at City Hall. The $1.4 million included a purchase price of $1.15 million for the house, with the rest going toward cosmetic upgrades for the building. 

The $250,000 includes a contractor’s fee, paint, awning fixtures, electrical upgrades and other changes. 

Mike Manous of Manous Design, said the list of upgrades totaling $750,000 included all possible work to the building.

“The instructions we were given were to go to the property — inside, outside, furnishings, equipment — and make a list of everything that we could possibly think of that the city might want to do with the property,” Manous said. 

Manous said he worked with contractors and city officials to identify safety and American Disabilities Act issues, and created a wish list.

“I think we were all shocked when the price came back,” said Ash, who said the city received only one bid for the project. “Most of it was a wish list and things we’d like to see done.”

Ash said the city also considered purchasing another building instead of Mitchell House that would have cost around $1.8 million, but would have cost about $900,000 in renovations. 

“I am completely satisfied that the council and our office has done the correct thing by solving the overcrowding problem, and saving the Mitchell House, and by saving money doing it,” Ash said.

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