A factory that has stood near the southern border of Ravenna for 142 years is being demolished, potentially to make way for future development.
Portage Precision Polymers, later known as Progressive Polymers, is being demolished by Jim Wallace, who owns the building. Wallace, a contractor who also worked on the demolition of the former Oak Rubber factory on South Chestnut Street, plans to have the building demolished within six months.
Dennis West, Ravenna's economic development director, said Wallace is demolishing the building for scrap, and is funding the demolition himself. Eventually, West said, the property will be available for industrial development.
West said the multi-story building was not safe.
"There were holes in the floor that you had to be careful you didn't fall," he said. "For the best interest of Ravenna, it's better that the building come down and look to the future for redevelopment."
The factory first operated as Cleveland Worsted Mills, a sprawling, multi-story brick complex that opened in 1879, according to The Ravenna Record. The factory had been one of Ravenna's leading employers until its Annevar and Redfern plants closed in 1956.
In 2013, Douglas Hartley, who owned Portage Precision Polymers, sold his business to Hexipol and closed the Ravenna building. The building later briefly reopened as Progressive Polymers before closing again.
West said demolition is progressing on the South Chestnut Street, with most of the main building demolished. He expressed hope that both would be demolished by summer. Demolition is taking longer on the South Chestnut Street building because the bricks are being recycled for flooring and wall decor, a concept that is popular in the south.
Reporter Diane Smith can be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Historic mill on Ravenna's Lake Street is being demolished