City council meets to discuss properties

Marlo Guetersloh TimesNewspapers

Chillicothe has put together a section of four properties on Cedar Street that City Council members hope will be attractive for developers. 

At its meeting last week, the Chillicothe City Council purchased 217 and 223 Cedar Street for $85,000. The two properties were sandwiched between two properties the city already owned. 

The two properties added to the city’s collection were owned by the Gray family and was the location of Gray Auto Parts. The businesses closed years ago and the two properties have sat vacant ever since. 

Chillicothe Mayor Doug Crew said the purchase of the Gray properties was a strategic move. He said the purchase will  keep someone else from buying it and charging a developer or 

the city too high of prices for the land. 

“In order to develop (the city’s property) and put it back on the tax rolls, we have to have these properties and develop it,” Crew said. 

Already the city owns the former Four Seasons-Ace Hardware store and the empty lot at the end of the block where the Camp House hotel once stood. 

The city purchased the Four Seasons building at 227 Cedar St. in 2008 for $150,000 with the eye toward redeveloping it. 

However, last year a deal to sell the building to Small Engine Specialty fell through. Small Engine Specialty had been renting the building from the city. 

In 2009, the city purchased the former Camp House, a three-story building at 211 Cedar St., for about $60,000 and paid about $33,000 to have it torn down. The once historic hotel had been turned into apartments which fell into disrepair. 

Crew said the city was protecting its current investment by buying the Gray properties. The city has already spent roughly $250,000 on the 200 block of Cedar Street. 

Crew said there have been some suggestions about how to develop the block and those four properties, but nothing has been officially proposed to the city. 

Demolishing the Gray properties could be a possible additional cost to the city, Crew said. But nothing has been finalized. 

“That is a possibility,” Crew said. “On behalf of the city, it is our intention to get the property redeveloped and get it back on the tax rolls.”

 In unrelated city business, the council approved: 

• Spending $124,700 in Motor Fuel Tax money for the city’s 2014 road resurfacing project. The bid by Advanced Asphalt came in under the city engineer’s estimate, said Alderman Dennis Gould. 

• Purchasing a 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe from Riverside Chevy for $30,593. The four-wheel drive vehicle will replace a Chevy Impala squad car used by the police department. The council also approved the Tahoe to be marked like a regular squad car for a cost of $6,989 from Blankenship Visual Impact.