City one step closer to getting community, athletic center

EAST LIVERPOOL – The first step was taken Monday night toward turning the former East Junior High School building into a community and athletic center.

During a special City Council meeting, first reading was given to an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with the Hometown Organization Youth Athletics (HOYA), which plans on renovating the now-closed facility and using it for a variety of activities.

Harry Emmerling, a city employee, had approached officials several months ago with the proposal and the finalized ordinance was presented for council’s consideration last night.

With members Ryan Stovall, Ray Perorazio and Tom Cunningham absent, however, only first reading could be given to the legislation, with the remaining council members making no comment on the measure.

According to the agreement, the city will retain ownership of the property, with HOYA responsible for all repairs and maintenance. The non-profit group will pay no rental fees, and any fees generates will be returned to the property to cover the cost of operations, maintenance and improvements, with the approval of the service-safety director.

The HOYA group will operate under the auspices of the Open Meetings Act and Public Records Law.

A project list presented with the original proposal by HOYA included repairing the gym floor, general maintenance and cleaning, any repairs needed to water and electric followed by gym rental, creation of outdoor fields, upgrade of equipment and on-going improvements.

In the same proposal, it was estimated gym, field and miscellaneous rentals in the facility could equal nearly 6,000 hours of opportunities for use annually.

Some of the expected uses HOYA listed on its proposal included volleyball, basketball, wrestling, cheerleading, jump stretch, agility, flag football, softball, baseball, plays, music, arts, academics, camps, clinics, youth training, tutoring, leagues and tournaments.

Other legislation on Monday’s agenda which could not be considered due to lack of sufficient members included revised resolutions placing two levies on the November ballot.

A typographical error in one of the original resolutions and the need to include some additional language to the second will make it necessary for council to amend them, according to Councilman Sherrie Curtis.

An ordinance creating a new fund and appropriating $84,410 for the Fourth Street street project near Kent State University was also ready for consideration but will now have to be put before council at its Aug. 4 meeting.