RUTLAND, Ohio — The Joe’s Country Market, known to the locals as Miller’s, or the Ashland Station, can now only be seen in old photographs and history books.
Adored by the Rutland community as a family owned and operated nearby convenient store and fuel station, Joe’s Country Market was built in the 1950s and served patrons for more than 45 years until its closure in 2005.
18 years later, the building that once housed loafs of bread, lunch meat, ice cream and great American snacks, chocolate and beverages, along with several years of small town memories fell block by block as the structure and adjacent fuel canopy were demolished by the Village of Rutland during a state funded abandoned gas station cleanup project.
Rutland Mayor Tyler Eblin reports the Village was awarded a reimbursement grant not to exceed $250,000 by the Ohio Department of Development through the Ohio Abandoned Gas Station Clean-Up Program, with the Ohio Controlling Board releasing the funding in the spring of 2023.
The Village of Rutland contracted with Tetra Tech, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) engineer to administer the project. Three bids were obtained with Petro Environmental, an EPA qualified contractor, retained to complete project.
Despite the building’s condition, Mayor Eblin was not required to issue a condemnation order in light of the property owner’s cooperation to authorize the Village to access the property and complete the scope of work.
“The demolition of Miller’s is another great milestone in the revitalization of the Village of Rutland,” comments Mayor Eblin. “The community has witnessed this building fall into disrepair, and essentially stand as an eyesore. While myself and others are regretful to see its removal, razing Miller’s returns a section of the Village to a safe and attractive parcel of land.”
The demolition of Joe’s Country Market is one of five defective structures removed since 2020.
Two structures at 58 Depot Street, each abandoned and constructed in violation of the Village’s Flood Hazard Mitigation Code and upon mitigated property were demolished by owners following an order from Mayor Eblin in 2021.
A vacant manufactured home on Main Street near the east corporation limit was demolished by the property owner after being condemned by the Village.
Most recently, Mayor Eblin signed an executive order condemning the former Rutland Furniture Warehouse building, which was demolished in the spring of 2023 by the property owner.
Mayor Eblin notes that the former Rutland Post Office has also been condemned and will tentatively be the next defective structure to be demolished, pending funding and no appeals or injunctions.
“The owners of any dilapidated structure in the Village of Rutland have two options—either fix it, or get rid of it,” comments Mayor Eblin. “The Village has been stale for years in addressing blight and the time has came, in the revitalization of our downtown and Village as a whole, to repair or remove unsightly and unsafe structures.”
Mayor Eblin notes the Village’s priority is to ensure the safety of the downtown area and that the condemnation of unsafe structures is not meant to be punitive, but a method by which the issues of the structures can be fully resolved once and for all.
The Village of Rutland extends its appreciation to Matthew Wagner of Tetra Tech for his assistance in procuring funding for the abatement of Joe’s Country Market; to April Custer, the owner of Joe’s Country Market for her cooperation in the removal of the structure; and to all property owners in the Village who have complied with orders to repair or raze condemned, dangerous structures.