STEUBENVILLE - Vince Fristick said Thursday afternoon he will remove the wooden boardwalk he and his business partner installed this week in front of their Adams Antiques store on Adams Street.
"But not until I receive a court order," announced Fristick as he relaxed in a chair in front of their store.
"We put this boardwalk together Tuesday right after we closed. (We) went out to Lowe's and spent about $1,000 on the wood and screws and came back and put down the new 42-foot long boardwalk," Fristick explained.
ON THE BOARDWALK — Vince Fristick, left, and his business partner Joseph Barnes relaxed Thursday afternoon on their self-installed wooden boardwalk in front of Adams Antiques on Adams Street in Steubenville. The business owners have been told by city officials to remove the boardwalk or face legal consequences. — Dave Gossett
"Under the boardwalk," Fristick said, "is an old concrete traditional sidewalk."
"It was starting to deteriorate and I wanted to do something different. Make the downtown look a little different and draw some positive attention to the downtown. I have only received positive feedback since we put this down. And now it is all over Facebook and I am amazed by the support I have received. This is the best publicity I have had in the past 10 years," related Fristick.
But not all of the reaction has been positive.
"A building inspector stopped by Wednesday and told me I couldn't have a wooden boardwalk out here. And he issued me a citation for a building code violation. But I believe the wooden boardwalk is actually safer than the concrete sidewalk. People like this because it is because it is different," continued Fristick.
City Engineer Michael Dolak inspected the boardwalk Thursday and told Fristick it was a code violation.
"Mr. Fristick did not get a building permit. If he had applied for a permit we would have told him it is in violation of city code that requires sidewalks to be concrete at least 4 inches thick. I also told him it was not handicap accessible and a potential tripping hazard," explained Dolak.
"He told me there can't be any exception to the rules. But why not? This is my property and I am doing something a little different and getting a positive response from everyone who walks on the sidewalk or drives by. I have had people honking their horns for me as they go by the store. And this issue has exploded on Facebook. People I don't even know are talking about this and saying they like the idea," stated Fristick.
According to Fristick, "I put my money where my mouth is. I have complained about the downtown and what we need to do to attract more people back down here. So I put in a wooden boardwalk and tried to start a trend. I already have permission to run it down to the corner by Plain Jane's Restaurant. People think this is a pretty cool idea. No one has a problem but the city.
"After Mr. Dolak was here we shaved the edges of the wood down to eliminate any tripping hazard. I am willing to do whatever the city wants me to do so I can keep the boardwalk," Fristick added.
Mayor and Acting City Manager Domenick Mucci said Fristick was issued a "stop work" order by the building department when officials learned Fristick was laying down the wooden boardwalk.
"He had no building permit. Vinnie was told he has until June 21 to remove the wood or he will be sent a notice of violation. He simply can't circumvent city laws. It is a violation of the city code and he will have to come into compliance just like every other property owner," Mucci explained.
Fristick also contacted his councilman looking for support.
"I like Vinnie but I told him he had to follow the rules," responded 3rd Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf.
"If I have to remove my boardwalk we will take it back up and store it until next year. I am just trying to create something different here and make a few dollars during the Dean Martin Festival," said Fristick.