It's in the best interest of the city of East Liverpool to transfer the Riverview Florist property to the Community Improvement Corp.
A no-brainer, actually.
The CIC has the legal authority to sell and develop property without many of the restrictions that can hamper the city, such as bidding procedures.
That itself seems enough to make the move happen.
According to CIC member Alfred Fricano, the CIC also has the "financial ability to clean it up," as well as business relationships with state offices and the Columbiana County Port Authority that could result in pushing the project forward.
For way too long, the rundown property has sat idle - appearing worse by the day. And for way too long, the residents of the area have heard the stories of the possibilities for development.
Many may already know that the CIC has a revolving loan fund program that provides low interest loans to small businesses. Recently a loan was granted to city businessman Brian Kerr for upgrades to his building along East Fifth Street.
But the CIC also has the power to enter into lease agreements on behalf of the City; buy or sell property for the City; and own or lease property
Also, the CIC "may incur debt, mortgage its property and issue its obligations for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, and equipping buildings, structures, and other properties, for lease or sale, in order to carry out its participation in a joint agreement with the City for commercial and economic development."
- taken from
the city's website
Yet the 83 acres of property along Parkway and Anderson Boulevard remains an eyesore for all to see - a constant reminder of the city's "do as I say, not as I do" mentality on nuisance property/structures.
It's time for action.
Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell told council this week less than $10,000 is now needed to fully remediate the asbestos problem that exists throughout buildings on the property.
The CIC has the money to get the ball rolling. While the city, we realize, has to watch every dime and spend it wisely.
Our hope is that the CIC gets its hands on this property. We'd much rather see a landscape of dirt and trees vs. greenhouses with broken, hanging panes of glass and buildings with boarded up windows.
The city purchased the property in 2008 for $1.28 million with the intentions to make it available for development.
That's been five years ago.
Yes, there have been government hoops to jump through, we understand that, but it's our belief that those same hoops either don't exist or are easier to navigate if the land was in the CIC's possession.
The CIC was crucial to the city's pursuit of the property, loaning the city more than $500,000 toward the purchase. The loan has since been repaid. Now it's time for the city to use the CIC's assistance again and push through with actual development of it.
There's no doubt both the CIC and city leaders want what's best for East Liverpool.
We urge this property transfer to move forward.