The former Ohio Veteran's Children Home in Xenia has been awarded additional state funds for redevelopment efforts. The state Controlling Board has approved nearly $2.8 million to pull asbestos out of buildings, improve infrastructure and demolish other structures completely.
The home was built In 1869, after Xenia residents provided the Grand Army of the Republic with a 150 acres of land to house orphans and widows from the Civil War. In 1870 the state of Ohio took control, and in later years the home was opened up orphans from all military conflicts, and even to the children of Vets experiencing financial difficulty. Sources say that in 1901, more than 900 children lived on the campus. It was the largest institution of its kind in the world.
In the last decade, the city of Xenia has invested more than $20 million dollars to renovate the old buildings. Some are now used as educational and athletic facilities, offices, and event space. The 2.8 million dollars in additional funds will allow the city and its development partners to continue those building upgrades. Senator Chris Widner of Ohio’s 10th District, which includes parts of Greene County, says additional renovations will both keep jobs, and bring more jobs to the city.
He adds, "Obviously the more facilities they can get open, and the more they’re able to expand their operations, the more hiring that can take place, and it’s becoming one of the anchors on that end of the city of Xenia for, you know economic activity."
Widner says the money for this round of renovations is coming through the Clean Ohio Fund, which voters first authorized in 2000 and renewed again in 2008. The fund assists communities in cleaning and repurposing sites like the former Children’s Home to further economic development.