Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

Dumping, vandalism spike in St. Marys

By Sydney Albert
ST. MARYS - Citizens should stay vigilant amid a sharp rise in vandalism of city property and illegal dumping, city councilors learned at Monday night's regular meeting.
City safety and service director Greg Foxhoven noted cases of vandalism have "gone through the roof" over the last several weeks. In many instances, the perpetrators are younger kids, he said. While confronting vandals can be challenging, people should be on the lookout and report any acts of vandalism to the St. Marys Police Department, Foxhoven said.
It's difficult for city employees, who are already stretched thin, to have to clean up vandalism as well, Foxhoven continued. Even the city's new pool house, which opened to the public just before Memorial Day weekend, has reportedly been vandalized.
City administrators are also trying to come up with a solution to a significant spike in illegal dumping seen at the former St. Marys landfill following the closure of the Celina Sanitary Landfill. Trash, yard waste and dirt dumped by the truckload have reportedly been found in the area.
The former St. Marys Landfill is near Davis Lake, a fishing site stocked by the state that is required to be open to the public. The city has tried to secure the area to prevent dumping, but doing so caused issues with local angler, Foxhoven said.
Davis Lake offers good fishing, and closing the area would no doubt result in blowback, Foxhoven continued. Foxhoven and mayor Patrick McGowan discussed possible alternatives to shutting the area off entirely, such as reducing public hours. However, even keeping the area open during the day and closing at night could cause issues, as some of the best fishing is at dusk, Foxhoven said. Still, something needs to be done to curb the illegal dumping.
In other business, the city passed under rule suspension a demolition assessment for a property at 216 Beech Street. The city had previously taken down a detached garage on the property and assessed the work, but the house was later found to be a dangerous building as well.
The city will assess $23,356.31 against the property following the razing of the one-and-a-half-story house with dormers and a full basement that once stood on the parcel. The amount includes the expense of labor, equipment, dumpster fee and disposal costs, Foxhoven said. The city reportedly reached out to the property owner for payment prior to passing the emergency resolution on Monday, but did not receive a response.
Council members also
• saw a preview of the official state historical marker that will be placed outside the Reservoir Mill on High Street.
• were reminded of the dedication ceremony of the Michael J. Lynch Memorial Gardens to be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 21. Lynch, formerly of St. Marys, was a U.S. Air Force veteran and an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He and several other agents were killed in a plane crash in 1982 as they escorted a bank fraud and embezzlement subject to Cincinnati.
• were reminded of the open house of the city's new water treatment plant from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 6.
• excused council member Robin Willoughby's absence.
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