TROY — Restoring a historic building to its former glory is a labor of love that requires patience and a lot of sweat equity, which Troy Main Street Executive Director John Wilson has experienced firsthand.
The owner of the Hatfield House on East Main Street, Wilson brings a unique perspective to the Troy Main Street organization — as a property owner.
Wilson took over the executive director role at Troy Main Street last April after Katherine Hayes stepped down last December.
The Bucyrus native was downsized in the coprorate world in January, so Wilson said he seized the oppurtunity of the open position at TMS to stay in his adopted hometown and be part of the organization that highlights the histric downtown he fell in love with in the mid-80s.
“I took a look back at what I really wanted to do and what I want to do is be part of Troy,” Wilson shared. “I like the personal satisfaction I take home at the end of the day. I’ve become so involved that I even bought a downtown building and started renovating that. Still am. It’s quite a challenge.”
Wilson said when he bought the building it was completely inhabitable and has since restored the building’s interior to host two businesses and three upscale apartments. Wilson said the third floor of the Hatfield House, located at 123 E. Main St., has been gutted and is ready for a complete renovation.
“I couldn’t stand to have it sit there in decay anymore,” Wilson said. “I knew its history of a hotel and a carriage stop and things like that. I just couldn’t stand to see like that and I had some time and some money to invest so I guess it seemed like a good thing to do.”
Wilson said restoring a historic building brings with it a lot of hard work, but also a lot of pride and satisfaction. Wilson shared how he even custom re-made all the windows of the Hatfield House to bring back some life to the former hotel.
“I think I have a different compassion (as a downtown property owner) because I understand their investment,” Wilson shared.
The former accountant shared how he plans to build the TMS team this year and establish consistency within the organization. Wilson served on the board of directors of TMS for four years and also served as past president of the non-profit organization.
“One of the main advantages I had was knowing a lot of the property owners and business owners already. That was one of the first things I did was go out on the streets and meet everybody and everybody has a lot to tell me. Most of it positive and some have concerns and I understand that,” Wilson said.
Wilson resides on a farm in Concord Township with his wife Kristie.
Funding for Troy Main Street comes from the city, a percentage of funding through grants for the programs, a small portion from membership dues, and largely from sponsorship and public and private donations. Troy Main Street is a non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to the enhancement and protection of the downtown through economic development, design, promotional and organizational efforts.
For more information, visit www.troymainstreet.org.
Reach Melanie Yingst at myingst@civitasmedia or follow her on Twitter at @TroyDailyNews