CEP to help M’burg with abandoned properties

By Joshua Keeran - jkeeran@civitasmedia.com

MECHANICSBURG – Village Council on Monday designated the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) to manage abandoned land, a move officials hope will help turn vacant properties into productive use.

“The purpose of this is to allow the Champaign Economic Partnership to act on our behalf in handling economic development,” Mayor Greg Kimball said following the first reading of the resolution in May.

Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis said the resolution will come into play when the village receives abandoned land from the Champaign County sheriff through the Champaign County Board of Revision.

For every property obtained, a separate agreement will be drawn up between the village and CEP, and each agreement must be approved by both parties.

Huggins-Davis said the agreements will contain a variety of details including how much the village wants for a particular property, time frames for development of the property, and how the site can and can’t be developed.

Each agreement, she added, will include an agreed upon percentage of the final purchase price that CEP will receive in return for finding a purchaser interested in developing the site.

The first properties expected to serve as a test run of sorts for the new partnership between the village and CEP are 2 and 4 N. Main St. (located at the corner of North Main Street and East Sandusky Street), which the Board of Revision has agreed to hand over to the village free of all liens and delinquent taxes.

The village is expected to receive the deeds to these properties in the coming week, after the 30-day appeals process runs its course, Huggins-Davis said.

Renewal levy addressed

A resolution seeking to place on the Nov. 7 ballot a 4-mill renewal levy for fire protection and emergency medical services (EMS) underwent a second reading.

Champaign County Auditor Karen Bailey provided the village with a certificate of estimated property tax revenue on May 5 that states the 4-mill renewal levy, assuming the tax valuation remains constant throughout the term of the levy, would generate an estimated property tax revenue of $68,800 per year.

Water project to move forward

The Ohio Water Development Authority approved the village’s request for a 20-year loan in the amount of $982,212.07 for the Water Distribution System Improvements Phase 1 Project, Huggins-Davis said.

“Construction is going to start about the second week of July,” she said. “(Crews) want to try to get most of the construction in front of the school done before school opens.”

The project will replace aging 6- and 8-inch water mains along West Main Street and High Street with 12-inch mains to help address water concerns at the Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools’ complex on High Street.

Huggins-Davis said all property owners on West Main and High streets will receive a letter detailing the project and what to expect during the construction phase.

In other businesses:

•Kimball applauded the volunteer efforts of resident Bill Lemaster, who is donating his time to paint the village’s 67 fire hydrants.

The hydrants are being painted red, and the village is supplying the paint.

“If you see Bill, thank him,” Kimball said. “He volunteered to do it, so we took him up on his offer.”

•Zoning Officer Dusty Hurst thanked council member Rae Ann Logan, local landscaper Logan Class, and Rush Fitness for donations made toward helping to fill the flower pots throughout the downtown area.

•Kimball issued a mayoral proclamation in honor of the Mechanicsburg High School wrestling team winning the state title this past season.

•Residents were reminded that the Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties distributes free food to those in need from noon to 1 p.m. on the first Monday of every month at Mechanicsburg High School, 60 High St.

•Police Chief John Alexander said his department has been dealing with a recent rash of animals, especially dogs, running at large. He added one incident resulted in a dog owner cited after a mail carrier was bitten by a dog.

•Fire Chief Bob Keene reminded drivers to keep an eye out for motorcyclists.

“In the last two weeks, motorcycle accidents have been up,” he said. “We’ve been on four or five of them.”

•Council was informed the county was awarded a Zika grant again this year that will cover the village’s mosquito spraying costs for the season.

By Joshua Keeran


Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.