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Committee sends land purchase to council

February 1, 2013
Morning Journal News

EAST LIVERPOOL - A parcel of ground that had held a burned-out building could be sold to the next-door neighbor if City Council agrees to a recommendation from its planning and expansion committee.

The committee met Thursday to discuss the possibility of transferring the property now owned by the city to the Community Improvement Corporation.

Formerly owned by Louis and Patricia DeLuca, the East Fifth Street property had gone into foreclosure and was not sold at sheriff's sale so reverted to the city.

Planning Director Bill Cowan told the committee, "We were after it before it burned. It was in terrible shape."

After a fire, Cowan said he approached the owners but they made no attempt to clean up the eyesore or tear it down. After that, it was foreclosed on.

The city has since paid to have the burned-out structure demolished at a cost of $4,330 by X-Treme Cleaning, and the lot is now vacant and cleaned up.

Cowan was contacted by William Conrad in November, who asked about purchasing the parcel, which abuts his land, and Cowan had him send a letter in which he said he would like to use it as a side yard and, possibly in the future, on which to build a garage.

Committee Chairman Russell Dray said Conrad has offered $1,000 for the property and said, "It's not doing the city any good. He's been taking care of it."

An ordinance was reviewed at the meeting that would authorize transfer of the property from the city to the CIC, which can then sell it outright. If the city sells a piece of property, it must do so after competitive bidding. The CIC is not required to accept bids.

"This person has been maintaining it and it seems like a good gesture on our part to give it to CIC so it can be disposed of," member Sherrie Curtis said.

Calling it an "ideal situation," Cowan said a formerly dilapidated property will now go back on the tax roles, although he admitted, "We know going into it, we were going to take a loss on it," referring to the cost of the demolition compared to the proposed purchase price.

The property is located just across the street from a business and near other residential homes.

The committee agreed to forward the ordinance for council's consideration at its meeting next week.

Committee members discussed briefly the fact that there are numerous burned out and dilapidated properties in the city, with Cowan saying he has approached various agencies and state officials in an attempt to secure demolition funding.

"There's just nothing out there," he lamented.



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