Friday, September 21, 2001

Hamilton asking to house Butler's bell




By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Butler County's Ohio Bicentennial bell hasn't even been cast yet, but already it's ringing up a controversy.

        The county commissioners promised to cast and place the 230-pound bell in Liberty Township. But that plan has hit a sour note with Hamilton, the county seat.

        Hamilton officials believe their city should be the site of the bell-casting, and its permanent home.

        Using a mobile foundry, Cincinnati's Verdin Co. is casting an Ohio Bicentennial bell in each of the state's 88 counties. Butler County's bell won't be cast until next year or 2003, the Bicentennial year.

        “The bell belongs in an area where it will have the most visibility,” John Moser, chairman of the Hamilton Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the commissioners Thursday.“It shouldn't be stuck in the foyer of the Liberty Township administration building.”

        Liberty Township Trustee Bob Shelley said he expects the bell's permanent location to be in Hamilton. But he said the township is not willing to give up the bell-casting celebration.

        “It's going to be a wonderful celebration,” Mr. Shelley said. “I've put hundreds of hours of work into this. I don't owe the city of Hamilton a doggone thing.”

        The commissioners, who aren't sure where the bell will be permanently housed, told Mr. Moser they don't want to take the event or the bell away from Liberty Township.

        Mr. Fox directed Administrator Derek Conklin to check into the cost of paying for a second Bicentennial bell. Then he realized the county might need more than two.

        “If Hamilton gets a Bicentennial bell, Middletown will surely want one, too,” he said with a laugh.

        “Oh well, in this day and age, you can't have too many Liberty Bells.”

       



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