Palestine commits to buying building for new village hall

EAST PALESTINE – Village Council took the next steps Monday toward moving the village hall into a larger space.

By a vote of 5-1, council voted to purchase of the former PNC Bank, which closed earlier this year. Councilwoman Ellen Beagle was the lone “no” vote.

At the same meeting, council also unanimously voted to sell the current village hall, which is located about a block up North Market Street and across the street.

Municipal Attorney Shirley Smith said she and Councilman Alan Cohen, a former attorney, have a couple of concerns with the sale agreement. There is a clause in the contract which said the sale should be kept confidential. However, any document involved in a sale by a municipality automatically becomes a public record.

She said it needs to be noted the current village hall building is being sold in “as-is condition.” Village Manager Pete Monteleone will be having an appraisal done of the building.

Another concern voiced by Cohen was whether the purchase of the PNC building is contingent on the sale of the old village hall building. Smith said she did not believe it was an issue because there has been a lot of interest in the old village hall building.

Council also had a second reading to sell bonds for up to $165,000 for the purchase of the PNC building.

There was also a second reading on an ordinance to refinance bonds from the former West Street Bridge project loan. Those bonds are not to exceed $230,000. Councilman Fran Figley pointed out the bridge project was supposed to have been funded by a grant which would only cost the city about $60,000, but ended up costing them about $600,000.

Council added an item to the agenda and with an emergency vote agreed to sell unneeded road grindings.

In other matters:

– Council applauded Adam Philips’ efforts. For his Eagle Scout project, Philips erected a map of the park near the entrance. Philips said the backside of the map was left blank and the park could have a bulletin board there for people to post fliers.

“Thank you for council and the city for letting me do the project,” Philips said.

– Plans were discussed by Cohen and Nate Foster of the parks board, who is proposing a craft fair and three-on-three basketball tournament, possibly on Labor Day in the park. The purpose is to raise money for a diving board for the swimming pool. Monteleone said those interested in planning it should contact him to go over the details.

– The swimming pool was closed on Wednesday due to a pipe breaking. Monteleone reported Park Foreman Jerry Coblentz found the water was down more than a foot that morning. He noted Coblentz and the other employees worked hard and had the pool back to full by 7 p.m. Wednesday, so the pool was only closed for one day.