Steubenville council eyes repairs to old city building

STEUBENVILLE — With roof repairs to the old city building progressing, city officials are looking at what else needs to be done to keep it habitable.

Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi told council this week the contractor said it would cost a little more than $26,000 to address other exterior needs they’d identified, like repairing doors and painting all the doors and windows.

Council is hoping to turn a portion of the building into a public market, though they’ll still have to maintain a Municipal Court space.

“I would ask that you put it out for bids,” City Manager Jim Mavromatis said. “(The extra work) was not in the original plans. I will say, the roof looks good, what they’ve done so far, but every one of our gutters is rusted through. At least get us some numbers and we can present it to council. As the year ends, we may find we have money to (do some of it). At least the outside is going to look good, then we can focus on inside.”

Petrossi agreed, telling council the architect had looked the information over “and also recommended we get bids.”

Municipal Judge John Mascio Jr., in chambers to address questions about his proposed 2020 budget, said he loves the idea of opening a public market, but isn’t sure it can co-exist with court offices and the courtroom.

“There’s absolutely no doubt if you proceed with the market plan, we’re going to have to somehow secure this half of the building to protect employees,” Mascio said. “I like the idea of a market … but, realistically, I don’t think it’s a good idea unless you take over the whole building.”

Mascio, though, said it’s definitely an idea worth exploring, “and I’m certainly not opposed to meeting with the architects. But it could (be a little expensive) if you decide to remodel this half of the building for the court.”

He said bringing the building up to Ohio Supreme Court safety standards “would cost around $100,000 to do it right, secure the side entrance and entrance points to the building.”

“We just never came back to council because I know you don’t have (the money),” he said. “We’ve been looking for grants. Until we can turn things around, see where we are in terms of COVID, that’s really unrealistic. But it is on the wish list.”

Mascio also applauded the efforts of city police, “(they’re) here everyday and they do a tremendous job, they search everybody as they come in.”

During the budget portion of his presentation, Mascio told council he’s asking for an additional $29,000 to cover wages and benefits for his new Mental Health Court coordinator. He said the total cost for the position would be a little over $70,000 a year, but $60,000 would be reimbursed via a grant through the Office of Criminal Justice Services for which the court was approved. The rest, plus a $20,000 local match, will come out of the court’s special projects account.

He reminded council he’s eliminating the magistrate’s position in 2021, “that will free up a lot money we can better use for this program.”

Fire Chief Carlo Capaldi told council his department is “about a week to 10 days away from everything being ready to go” with the city’s new ambulance service.

“We have a couple things left to do,” he said. “There’s some software we’re training on, we’ve got a drug order to put in, we’re waiting on some iPads. But it can be done.”

Council heard second readings of ordinances amending city code governing the cutting of grass and weeds and allowing Mavromatis to seek bids for the purchase of necessary supplies for the service department.

Also approved were resolutions designated October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Oct. 16 as National Mammography Day and the week of Oct. 4-10 as Fire Prevention Week.


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