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VIDEO + STORY: After years of renovations, Worthington will soon be able to enjoy time 'At The Barn'

Former Worthington mayor Alan Oberloh plans to rent the space, once inspections are fully completed.

Alan Oberloh opens a renovated sales barn for use as an event venue at Charles Ave on the southeast side of Worthington.
Alan Oberloh opens a renovated sales barn for use as an event venue at 1815 East Avenue on the southeast side of Worthington.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — The property where Alan Oberloh’s new event venue sits once housed a series of unfortunate-looking buildings, but after years of tear-downs and renovations, what remains is nothing short of rustically charming.

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The tin-sided barn, which Oberloh was granted a conditional use permit to operate as an event venue back in May, is described as both a “labor of love” and an “obsession” by Oberloh and his wife, Janice, as they show off the refurbished space. Oberloh has tentatively dubbed the venue “At The Barn” — which had become his standard answer for where he was during the years-long renovation.

When he bought the property back in March 2018, Oberloh had plans to use it for storage — just that feat required a lot of work. The building Oberloh renovated contained around ten inches of manure on the floor, and plenty of debris throughout.

“It took eight dumpsters until we could see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Oberloh said.

With some help, the old bleachers were removed and new floors were put in. Plans for a new door were drawn up, and slowly, the space began to take shape.

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“The further we got in the project, the more people started inquiring about, ‘are you going to rent this thing? What are you going to do with it?’” Oberloh said. “And then it almost got to be too nice, just for storage, so we said, ‘we'll make it into a place where people can have parties.’”

Janice and Alan Oberloh stand at the bar in the newly renovated sales barn for use as an event on Charles Ave on the southeast side of Worthington.
Janice and Alan Oberloh stand at the bar in the newly renovated sales barn for use as an event venue on East Avenue on the southeast side of Worthington.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
Original ceiling surrounded by lumber and sheet metal salvaged from the out buildings of the sales barn complex finish the event center.
Original ceiling surrounded by lumber and sheet metal salvaged from the outbuildings were used to finish the new facility.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
Decor in the newly remodeled sales barn converted with original building materials from the site.
Decor in the newly remodeled "At the Barn" converted with original building materials from the site.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

While the exterior is a major improvement — including the new roof — the newly renovated interior of the barn is just as impressive. “At The Barn” houses two bathrooms, an open floor, and stairs leading up to a new loft with plenty of space for a game of cornhole, or to watch the festivities below.

“My goal on this whole project was reusing as much of what was on the property as I could.” Oberloh noted, pointing around the room. From the tin around the exterior and decorating the inside, to the lumber four-by-fours supporting the newly-installed loft, to the trim around the interior — all of it has come from what was left on the property before Oberloh purchased it.

It’s a goal he’s grateful his contractors, Greg and Zach Kempema, were so willing to accommodate.

“They were great to work with,” Oberloh said. “I’d come up with an idea…they were great about making it all happen.”

He estimates that the building can hold between 150 and 200 people, making it a great venue for parties, class reunions, weddings, and more. While there isn’t a kitchen on site, Oberloh imagines that people will be able to have food trucks come out, hire caterers, or host a potluck once the facility is ready for renting.

“What we’re doing is providing a venue,” he explained. “What people want to do with it is entirely up to them.”

While details about pricing and availability are still to come, Oberloh hopes to wrap up some of those last red-tape matters within the next month. For now, while he waits for final approval from an architect, Oberloh has had friends and family make use of their time “At The Barn.”

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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