Council discusses rezoning legislation

STEUBENVILLE – Legislation was introduced during City Council’s sunshine meeting Tuesday night to rezone the former Temple Beth Israel on Lovers Lane for a senior citizens center.

Second Ward Councilman Rick Perkins proposed the ordinance that will receive three separate readings.

The city’s planning and zoning commission has scheduled a public hearing on the rezoning request for June 10.

Council will vote a third and final time on the rezoning request at the June 18 meeting.

The synagogue was purchased by Tri-State Health Services Inc. last month.

According to Prime Time Interim Director Judy Owings, “surveys have shown a need for a central senior citizens center in Jefferson County. Approximately 18 percent of our county’s population is 65 or older, and between 25 to 50 percent of our local population is 50 years of age or older.

“The temple was exactly what we were looking for. We plan to have a variety of social services there including exercise classes, arts and crafts, social activities, a small cafe, movies, educational programs, painting, photography and cooking classes, financial services for seniors, gardening, dances, support groups, walking, hiking and biking, as well as travel and volunteer opportunities,” Owings told the planning commission last week.

“The zoning changes will better reflect the services we will offer at the center,” she added.

Perkins also introduced an emergency ordinance authorizing the city manager and Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi to advertise for bids for asbestos abatement at the Grand Theater on South Fourth Street.

Petrossi announced last week the city’s certified professional environmental consultant has completed plans for the asbestos abatement at the Grand Theater.

“The asbestos abatement project is funded by the Clean Ohio fund,” noted Petrossi.

And, council will consider emergency legislation Tuesday to add the house at 243 N. Eighth St. to the city’s demolition list.

“We didn’t think we had enough CDBG funding left for that project but we now have the money to take the building down. That will complete our current list of demolition of dilapidated properties until we receive our 2013 CDBG funds,” said Petrossi.

Third Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf introduced a resolution Tuesday night recognizing Bishop John King Mussio Junior High School staff, teachers and students, “for their recent accomplishments in the Suntex International sponsored online math game.

“Mussio Junior High School finished first in Ohio and fourth nationwide out of more than 5,000 participating schools,” cited Metcalf.