The Iron Horse River Trailhead Park in Montpelier is closer to reality as the demolition of the 400 block of West Main Street has begun.

Demolition began Friday on five properties of West Main Street in downtown Montpelier: 400, 404, 406, 410 and 414 W. Main St.

“It’s coming along very quickly,” said Jason Rockey, Montpelier village manager. “I’m impressed with how fast things are coming down. It’s still a project that will take most of the month of December.”

The demolition does not include the single building at 416 W. Main St., the former home of Saneholtz-McKarns, a regional gas station and convenience store chain that has moved to a location on Ohio 15 just north of Bryan.

The project has been a long time in the making, having taken three years to secure funding and getting the demolition bid out. In all, it actually predates Rockey’s hiring into the village in spring 2018.

Once the buildings are gone, the village intends to erect a trailhead park for its Iron Horse River Trail project, a 2.1-mile-long trail along the St. Joseph River between the town hall on North Jonesville Street and the county fairgrounds.

“We hope to see something going in there in the spring,” Rockey said of the trailhead park. “Step by step, we’ve made it this far and hope to see it completed before next summer.”

Funding for the demolition and construction of the park are covered by what Rockey referred to as a House Bill 529 project grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“According to the program guide, it’s a capital improvement (grant) for community parks, recreation and conservation projects,” he said.

Rockey added that then-state representative (now state senator) Rob McColley, of Napoleon, helped the village secure the $325,000 grant.

In September, the Montpelier Village Council awarded the bid for the demolition to Advanced Demolition Services for $116,000.

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