Panel ponders razing buildings

After approving the purchase of a property at 25 E. Market St. Monday, Tiffin City Council members discussed a way to pay for demolition of the buildings during a Utilities and Related Services Committee meeting Wednesday evening.

Councilman Joe Hartzell proposed council seek bids for demolition of the building that was once the Pryzm and Stalsworth hotel and the warehouse behind it, formerly known as the Nightmare Within, and pay to raze the buildings using the remaining money in the Venture Capital Fund.

Hartzell proposed the city pay for the remaining demolition costs by asking contractors to cover the balance until the city sells the property.

Mayor Aaron Montz said he will research Hartzell’s idea, and also will consider using money from the city’s lodging tax, which is paid by visitors to the city.

“I am determined to use non-local tax dollars to tear those buildings down,” Montz said.

He said it would cost about $75,000 to tear down the two buildings, and the city has just less than $72,000 left in the Venture Capital Fund, which the city used to purchase the property.

Montz said if the city had not purchased the property, the landowner likely would not have sold it to a private owner.

He said the owner agreed to sell the property to the city for $120,000 after he purchased it for $250,000 because he got a tax write-off.

In other business, Sunoco agent Eric Villhauer spoke to the committee about a pipeline easement on city-owned property located by CR 26, Miami Street and Birchwood Drive.

Sunoco is offering a one-time payment of $5,550 for the easement and anticipated damages.

Law Director Brent Howard made corrections and changes to the contract Sunoco proposed, and Villhauer and the company will go over them and return to the committee in a few weeks for approval.