The eerie feeling you might get while walking around McKinley Hall could bring forth thoughts of chills or thrills.
The eerie feeling you might get while walking around McKinley Hall could bring forth thoughts of chills or thrills. The area seems like a rotunda of horrors as weeds sprout high and cobwebs hang from treetops and along windows.
But a haunted house planned for October in the dark, dusty auditorium of McKinley Hall at the former Massillon State Hospital grounds is nevermore.
Instead of being filled with ghosts, goblins and witches for the weeks leading up to Halloween, the hall is being overcome by peeling paint on walls, falling debris from crumbling ceilings and dead animals, such as mice and birds, inside the structure. The condition caused city Environmental Health Director Terri Argent to issue an order to vacate the premises Sept. 10.
“The order will stay on until someone does something to fix the issues,” said Argent, adding that a front stairway chipping away was her primary concern. “It has to be made safe for public entry.”
Earlier this month, City Council held discussion on an ordinance to allow a company, P.R. Kane Productions, to clean and restore the hall’s auditorium on the city’s south side to open a haunted house.
The auditorium was to be revamped by the production company, operated by Peter Kolomichuck, of Medina. The effort fell through mainly due to the company not following through on a fix-up schedule set by the city, according to City Safety-Service Director Al Hennon.
“Our instructions were not met,” said Hennon. “The order to vacate was partially him not following through.”
An attempt to reach Kolomichuck was not successful.
The inside of the auditorium was not cleaned thoroughly, and equipment and decorations were moved in prior to necessary health and fire inspections, Hennon said. The city’s Parks and Recreation Board later denied Kolomichuck’s request.
Councilwoman Michelle Del Rio-Keller said the city owns the McKinley building but is not paying utilities there because they’re disconnected.
The city received a $2,500 nonrefundable deposit from Kolomichuck earlier this month, allowing the company to begin its renovation. Hennon said the city is keeping the money, and added there are no immediate plans to open or renovate McKinley Hall.
“I’m really not sure what’s going to happen out there,” he said.