EAST LIVERPOOL - A deteriorating building on Fifth Street could soon be a thing of the past, with green space, a new structure or perhaps a municipal parking lot taking its place.
City Council this week approved under suspension of rules an ordinance authorizing the city to enter into an agreement with its Community Improvement Corporation to sell the former Sherwin-Williams building.
The legislation was presented for consideration from the floor by streets committee Chairman Scott Barrett, and Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell explained that the building had been offered at a sheriff's sale but there were no buyers, so it was offered to the city.
The city can transfer the property to the CIC, which can, in turn, sell it to the law firm of Aronson, Fineman & Davis, which has expressed an interest. The law firm's offices are next door to the building, which it intends to demolish, according to Estell, who said he was not sure what the company plans for the property but said it could become green space or even a parking lot.
He noted that, if the city doesn't accept the building, it will stay as-is for years until it goes into state ownership.
Councilman Sherrie Curtis said there is a tree growing through the roof of the building and the taxes owed on it are so high, no one wanted to bid on the sale.
"I don't see how we can lose on this," Curtis said, and Estell agreed, saying he sees this as an opportunity to help out a local business.
In other property-related issues, council heard from Cadmus Street resident Robert Richmond, who complained about the condition of the former Riverview Florist property, saying Mayor Jim Swoger had promised he would never support the purchase and then signed for the $1.3 million sale.
Swoger conceded he was "100 percent against" purchasing the property until the opportunity arose to secure gas and oil lease revenue from it, saying, "I did it for financial reasons and for the betterment of East Liverpool. I think it will be an asset eventually."
Richmond called the property a "disgrace" and challenged council, "You wouldn't want it in your area."
Councilman Ray Perorazio suggested thought be given to relocating the city car barn to the property, but Estell said plans are in the works to secure outside consultants for development and that using the property for the car barn would eliminate it as a potential development site.
"It would be good for council to listen to the consultants before making a decision on that property," Estell cautioned.
He also reported the final deed has been received turning over ownership of the former East Junior High School to the city and said he had had a call Monday regarding possible lease of the building, noting he is still working with state officials and agencies in an attempt to gain financial assistance for developing the site.
A change in state law has now made council the body responsible for appointment of library board members, with the revised law also changing the number of members from six to seven.
Council approved the re-appointment of board members Bob Bloor, Vine Street; John Fisher, Burford Street; and Colleen Van Leeuwen, St. Clair Avenue, as well as the appointment of new member Roseanne Lyle, Bradshaw Avenue.
Each will serve a four-year term.
In legislative matters, council approved ordinances authorizing payment to vendors for painting the water tank; creating new funds and line items for CHIPs grants; and adjusting appropriations.