City approves contract to buy Four Seasons

Marianne Gillespie

The Chillicothe City Council approved purchasing the former Four Seasons Hardware Store property at its Monday night meeting.

The city will buy the property at 227 W. Cedar St. for $150,000, as long as certain conditions are met, per the agreement.

Asbestos testing and a Phase I engineering study are in the works now.

Alderwoman Judy Cantwell asked if the city would still purchase the property if a lot of asbestos is found.

Economic development committee chairman Jim Thornton said the economic development committee’s intention was to purchase the property.

“All we’re doing tonight is approving the contract,” explained city attorney Mike Seghetti. “The contract gives us the right to do due diligence. And then, after we do due diligence, we decide whether we want to go forward or not. So, what Jim’s saying is, that the committee probably thinks it’s going to go forward, but, obviously, we want to see the results before we make that decision.”

The decision will then come back to the council, Seghetti said.

Closing date is set for April 29.

The council had a first reading of the agreement at its March 24 meeting.

Another item stemming from the March 24 meeting was adding an ordinance about competitive bidding to the code book.

At the last council meeting, aldermen voted against the ordinance due to wanting a first reading.

Alderman Rich Underwood asked if Request for Proposals should be included in the ordinance, due to confusion in the past.

Judicial chairman Chris Boyer said that all items or jobs will need to be bid if more than $20,000. The ordinance mirrors the state statute.

Due to past confusion, the aldermen wanted something on the city’s books about bidding.

The council approved the ordinance unanimously.

Aldermen also voted to collect delinquent ordinance violation judgments.

Mayor Gary Fyke explained that previously a judge would issue arrest warrants for those not paying their fines. Judges do not do that now, he said.

The fines do not relate to water bills, Fyke said, but ordinance violations, parking fines and more.

Seghetti said it amounted to 14 cases over the last 18 months, with one fine at more than $1,000. The others are around $200 to $300, he said.

The council approved paying $855 to Schierer & Ritchie LLC to collect the money.

In other items, the council:

• heard Cantwell say the cemetery/parks committee plans to meet with Chillicothe Park District manager Kevin Yates to discuss possible plans for Santa Fe Park becoming park district property and adding a splash pad, a type of water playground with fountains

• transferred $20,000 from the water/sewer collection account to the water/sewer operation and maintenance fund

• approved paying Peters Landscaping $6,828 for the purchase and installation of flagstone pillars and wall and installation of wire and conduit for lights for the new part of the Chillicothe City Cemetery. Cemetery/parks chairwoman Cantwell said the conduit will be run and bushes planted beginning Monday, weather permitting.

• approved for American Legion Post 9 to have live entertainment in its outdoor pavilion and extend the playing of amplified music from 11 p.m. to midnight May 30-31 during Claud-Elen Days.

• authorized Superintendent of Public Works Sid Crabel to advertise the position of mechanic for the public works department

• approved the city’s general fund, road and bridge, water/sewer, Tax Increment Financing and miscellaneous funds budgets for the fiscal year May 1 through April 30, 2009

• approved a Project Facelift application to pay Hubert Mattox $2,535 for new windows and facade improvements at 915 Second St. Balance left in the program, which aids business owners in keeping up the look of their storefronts, is $6,215.

• and concurred with the mayoral proclamation of May 27-31 as time for the distribution of Buddy Poppies.