Former Riverview Florist land being transferred to CIC

EAST LIVERPOOL – The former Riverview Florist property on Parkway will be transferred from the city to its Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) as part of a deal approved Thursday.

The CIC’s board of trustees agreed during its meeting to contribute $6,000 toward the estimated $12,000 cost of asbestos removal on the property with the stipulation that the property be transferred to the board.

An offshoot of city government, the CIC has the authority to buy and sell property without adhering to the bidding procedures mandated for governing bodies.

The board’s executive committee met prior to the trustees’ meeting and approved the contribution and transfer, but not without some debate.

Committee member Don Heldman said he had heard the company which identified the asbestos sites, J&J Asbestos Abatement, isn’t authorized to “do this work,” complaining also that he has heard other members say that “all our meetings have to be in a hurry because everything is cut and dried and we can’t vote ‘no’ because we’re gonna get a black eye.”

Member Sherrie Curtis pointed out that all information is mailed to members for their review prior to meetings.

Trustee Fred Kane also said J&J Asbestos Abatement is only licensed to determine what needs abated but is not certified to do the abatement, and no certification from the Environmental Protection Agency has been obtained.

Kane also said he believes the cost will be greater than $12,000 since there are more than 80 acres that “need cleaned up,” which could result in other environmental issues.

Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell explained that the steps to which Kane and Heldman were referring take place now that J&J Asbestos has identified the areas which need abated, including hiring a contractor to perform the abatement and acquiring EPA permits.

He stressed that a Phase I environmental study was completed by a Pittsburgh firm which looked for any underground tanks, oil spills and other issues, with none found.

Asbestos was found by J&J Asbestos only in the greenhouses on pipe wraps and window caulking, Estell emphasized.

Ultimately, the measure passed unanimously by both the committee and board of trustees.

City Council will meet in special session at 7 p.m. Thursday to consider the property transfer to the CIC. A streets/lands and buildings committee will meet at 6:30 that night to review the property transfer which would then have to be forwarded for council’s consideration.