Tuesday, June 11th, 2019
Council OKs eminent domain to gain building
By Sydney Albert
ST. MARYS - City council members unanimously passed an ordinance Monday authorizing the city to pursue an eminent domain claim on a downtown building.
City officials for months have been eyeing the Palm building, 101-103 W. Spring St., as a new municipal office. A resolution declaring the city's intent to appropriate the building was first introduced in February.
The property owner reportedly has been notified of the city's intent as required by law, according to city law director Kraig Noble. Noble said in February that various entreaties had been made to the Palm building's owner over the years with no response. The property's title is held in the name of a corporation that "no longer exists on the books" and is no longer recognized by the state, he continued.
The current municipal building is about a century old, and council president Jim Harris has cited several issues, including water leaks and crumbling ceilings, as reasons for needing a new building.
The ordinance will allow the city to file a petition for appropriation in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court.
In other business, seven local children were recognized by city council members for raising more than $1,225 at a lemonade stand for the tornado victims of Celina.
Upon hearing the news of the tornado's devastation, Caroline Bills, 10, CJ Bills, 7, Alyvia and Kalle Halko, 8, Ella Schlarman, 9, Taylor Brotherwood, 10, and Gabe Brotherwood, 7, reportedly set up a lemonade stand May 31 and continued selling drinks until June 2.
Council members recognized the children for their thoughtfulness and determination to help, exemplifying the important contributions young people can make.
"This is a good life lesson not only to these young people, but to all people what it means to give," the resolution reads.
The children and their families received copies of the resolution, and the children received a standing ovation for their efforts.
A check will be presented to Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel sometime next week, according to St. Marys Mayor Patrick McGowen.
Council members also,
• passed under rule suspension an emergency ordinance approving an agreement to accept a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to fund a splash pad to be installed on High Street.
• discussed possible downtown revitalizations efforts and ways to bring businesses downtown. Council members recommended the St. Marys Chamber of Commerce create a more concrete plan that the city could then assist with.