Councilman: Village demolition efforts continue

WELLSVILLE — More demolition efforts in the village through the Columbiana County Land Bank are being expected as that matter was discussed during Tuesday’s village council meeting.

Councilman John Cianni provided an update on the efforts of the county Land Bank and reported that 11 structures have been torn down in the village over the past couple weeks, and 22 places have been demolished over the past year-and-a-half.  Two more demolitions are expected, including one on Cemetery Hill and another located on Main Street near the U.S. Post Office.

Cianni noted that the demolitions–which would have cost $100,000 to handle–did not cost the village any money.

“When you talk about having to watch your pennies, that’s probably about $100,000 worth of demolition that we got for free,” Cianni said.

Cianni, however, advised that the efforts to clean up blighted properties are far from done. He said that he presented another list of homes to County Economic Development director Tad Herold consisting of another 25 properties, to which eight of those properties have been bought by the Land Bank. He added that with demolitions taking place, he hopes that residents in the village will be able to take initiative and be able to clean or repair their homes in order to make the village more presentable.

“Hopefully, if you look around town, you see some places getting sided, some porches put on, some eave work done, hope it will energize some folks to take a more active interest in trying to take care of the town and beef it up,” Cianni said.

Along those lines, Cianni also mentioned that no-interest loans and grants are available for residents through the state’s Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) program. The program is available for homeowners and single family residents who need help to provide funding for home repairs, and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Some of the work Cianni mentioned thats covered in the program include roofs, gutters, windows, doors, furnaces, hot water tanks, structural deficiencies (porches, floors, stairs), plumbing and electrical work. The program does not cover air conditioning, detached garages or additions.

There is no cost to submit an application. Packets were available to interested parties at the meeting, and more information can also be obtained through Community Action offices in Lisbon.

In another matter, Cianni reported that someone turned in a light pole at Fifth Street and Broadway Avenue that had a burned-out light, to which Cianni contacted AEP Energy to resolve the issue. Cianni further informed the audience that all of AEP’s poles have tag numbers and can be reported by going to AEP’s website at www.aep.com and filling out information, or by calling the energy company’s 24-hour customer service number at 1-800-277-2177.

In other business:

— Jennifer Soldano, who serves as secretary to Mayor Nancy Murray, recorded the minutes for the meeting in place of Fiscal Officer Hoi Black, who was absent from Tuesday’s session. Also absent was Councilman John Morrow, who was excused by the rest of council due to work-related matters.

— With a 5-0 vote, council approved the appointment of Jerry Medley as Village Administrator, made at Murray’s recommendation following a two-week process which included accepting of resumes and interviews conducted. Medley succeeds Paul Anthony, who resigned at the end of October to seek a position with the Columbiana County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

“I appreciate you nominating me and making me an administrator,” Medley said. “I’ll try to do the best that I can for everybody in here and the city of  Wellsville.”

Also with a 5-0 vote, council approved the appointment of a magistrate for the village and its officers.

— During public comment, Eighth Street resident Bobbi Boggess inquired about what will happen to My Bar on Main Street, which has been the scene of several previous incidents including a shooting that took place last Friday. According to reports, Jerrell Jeter, 31, of East Liverpool was shot once in the back during an altercation in the bar. As of Monday, he was recovering at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center following surgery. The shooting remains under investigation.

Murray said the village was looking to close the establishment as a nuisance bar, and was working to present the proper paperwork to the county prosecutor to pursue the matter.

The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Wellsville Municipal Building on Main Street inside council chambers.

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