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City to ponder property sale

September 19, 2012
By DAVE GOSSETT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - City Council will consider an ordinance next Tuesday to sell two lots on North Fifth Street after an adjacent property owner asked to buy the properties.

Third Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf introduced a measure during council's Tuesday sunshine meeting to advertise for sale two vacant lots at 821-823 and 827-829 N. Fifth St.

Patrick Nguyen of North Fifth Street asked the city to sell him the two lots so he can fence the properties off as a yard and maintain it.

Article Photos

PROPERTY DISCUSSION — Steubenville City Council members took a walk in the city’s South End Tuesday to inspect lots in the land banking program. Discussing future possibilities for the land were, from left, 4th Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs, 3rd Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf, 1st Ward Councilman Gerald DiLoreto, City Manager Cathy Davison, 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins, 6th Ward Councilman David Lalich and Councilman at large Kenny Davis - Dave Gossett

Nyguyen also said he plans to, "trim back the large tree encroaching on my house, redo the sidewalk that is in disrepair and beautify the North End just a little bit."

Metcalf said the city cannot sell the properties without publicly advertising the sale.

"This is a win-win for everyone. Mr. Nguyen takes very good care of his house and current property," remarked 4th Ward Councilman Angela Suggs.

Council will also consider a month-to-month lease of office space in the new City Hall to the JB Green Team on an emergency basis.

City Manager Cathy Davison said the agency is ready to move into the office suite immediately and will pay $2,200 a month.

The JB Green Team offices are currently located in the Jefferson County Christian School building on Fernwood Road in Wintersville.

Council members met for 35 minutes in the 600 block of South Sixth Street to inspect properties that may be added to the city's South End Strategic Plan land bank program.

"If we are going to be serious about landbanking, we need to put these properties together. If we accept the properties that have been offered to us, we will own both sides of this block. We could create a cul-de-sac for a future investor," explained Davison as the group walked along the street.

"We need to be at future tax and sheriff sales to buy the properties down here. And, if we can't buy them, we need to work with the port authority to find an investor interested in buying the properties," said Davison.

"We can offer a potential investor the land with infrastructure already in place," noted 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins.

Council agreed to accept the property donations and to not sell a vacant lot requested by Ray Livingston.

"No disrespect to Mr. Livingston, but I don't think we should sell one lot in the middle of our land bank and face the possibility of buying it back in the future," said Councilman at large Kenny Davis.

Sixth Ward Councilman David Lalich suggested putting signs on each city-owned lot, "so people coming to the downtown will see the city owns the properties and they are available for development."

During the sunshine session, Lalich introduced legislation to waive formal bidding requirements and agree to a contract with the James White Construction Co. of Weirton for emergency repairs to collapsing combined sewer lines on University Boulevard and McCauslen Manor.

Sewer Department Superintendent Chuck Murphy told council members approximately 73 feet of a sewer line is collapsing under University Boulevard and Brady Avenue.

"The project will not exceed $70,000, and James White is ready to start immediately. We will post detour signs in advance and the work should take three days. We also plan to replace three catch basins that have contributed to flooding in that bend area," explained Murphy.

Murphy said once the University Boulevard sewer is repaired, the contractor will move to McCauslen Manor to repair combined sewer lines that are collapsing.

"That job will not exceed $60,000 and is expected to take two to three days," said Murphy.

Murphy said the city has experienced two 100-year rain events during the past several weeks.

"We have been videotaping every sewer line area where there was a problem. When I know where a sewer line problem exists I try to go there during a rain storm to analyze what is causing the problem," said Murphy.

Legislation to advertise for professional services for the preparation of plans for a security and safety lighting project for the North End and Belleview parks was introduced by Perkins.

Perkins said the security lighting project will eliminate the need to keep the Belleview tennis court lights on all night.

He also proposed an ordinance to advertise for professional consulting services for the city's Fair Housing Commission.

And, Perkins introduced several amendments to the city's Fair Housing Code to bring the local code into compliance with state and federal fair housing laws.

In other matters, Metcalf proposed an ordinance authorizing the city manager to advertise for bids for supplies for the service department for 2013, and Lalich introduced legislation to renew an agreement with the Jefferson Soil and Water District for the Phase II storm water management plan mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Council members agreed to meet at 5 p.m. next Tuesday because of a scheduling conflict.

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