WALBRIDGE — Village council will not pursue eminent domain or try to acquire a downtown property, saying it is cost prohibitive.
After an executive session at the Oct. 5 meeting to discuss real estate and personnel, Mayor Ed Kolanko asked if any council member wanted to pursue eminent domain of 102 Main St.
Around the table, each council member said “no.” Councilwoman LaDenna Johnston was absent.
After the meeting, council President Karen Baron said they could not find a “middle ground” with the property owner.
“We decided that it was better as a whole not to move ahead, looking at the costs we would incur and the legal fees,” she said. “He was stuck on a dollar amount and didn’t want to negotiate.”
Kolanko said pursuing eminent domain or even trying to buy the property is not a good use of taxpayer money.
“We were hoping for a better resolution between the property owner and the village, but we’re too far apart,” he said.
The appraisal of the building was $46,000, Kolanko said.
“The property owner never formally gave us a number that he would take, but he said that it would probably be in the six-digit category,” he said.
Eminent domain was a route they could have pursued, but decided not to, because of the appraisal, Kolanko said.
In June, council voted unanimously to seek a full appraisal of the building and strip of property that extends to the alley at 102 Main St.
The building has most recently housed a thrift shop, but Kolanko said it has been vacant for a while. A dog groomer was there for a few years.
It was last purchased by James Irving, et. al., in 2001 for $15,950, according to the Wood County Auditor website.
Village resident David Overholt went to council this summer, saying he had planned to open an ice cream shop in the building and lease the space. The profits would help run his non-profit art group.
In May, he had asked council for financial assistance toward his $30,000 endeavor.
Reached by phone on Friday, Overholt said he was still interested in opening the ice cream store and will resume fundraising efforts.
“That’s the plan,” he said.
Also at the meeting, council hired Adam Widman as a full-time police officer. Widman had been with the Bradner Police Department.
Christtopher Schmidt was approved as an auxiliary police officer.