EATON — Several residents of New Hope attended the Preble County Board of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 10, to discuss properties in need of repairs.
First, Roy Kouts took the podium to speak as a “concerned citizen.” He said he had attended the last trustee meeting to discuss the three properties with them, but was informed the trustees had “done all they can do.”
Kouts requested support from the county in the form of equipment, the Engineer’s Office, and the Sheriff’s Office.
Joan Hemmelgarn reported, papers are dumped into the street and spread through New Hope. Cans are also dumped in the street, she said.
She also referred to one of the properties Kouts discussed, noting they call it the “bee hive” due to the amount of people who move in and out.
“The bee hive, at one time it was an apartment building. People got paid by the week. It was a run-down place then. They went for dirt cheap rent. We’ve had drug addicts there, we’ve had all kinds of people living in that building. The last gentleman who lived there, they moved him to the parsonage at New Hope about three to four years ago, because he had no electric and no heat,” Bonnie Zumbrun said.
“Now it is nothing but a fire trap, basically,” Zumbrun continued. “The door stands wide open. There is a tree limb on the roof that fell two years ago. Who knows what kinds of wild animals are in there. You don’t walk near that building when you go anywhere. That is my biggest concern.”
“The man at what we call the junkyard has burned toxic smelling rubbish many times. The fire department has been out there on numerous occasions and he has threatened them. It is pretty bad smelling stuff,” Thomas Rogers said.
Carol Johnson added, the creek beside the “junk yard” overflows when it rains, due to “junk” dumped — including cars and motorcycles.
“We appreciate you guys coming in, but the truth of the matter, this is really a township issue. We can talk to Jackson Township. They are the ones with legislative authority. We, as the county, don’t have that authority, but I would be more than happy to talk to the trustees and see what can be done,” Commission President Chris Day said.
At press time, Sheriff Mike Simpson added, “This is a township issue. Our involvement has been to provide a peace officer for anything the township may be doing on that property. We handle other complaints out there as they come in, and we handle those appropriately. Regarding this complaint, the Sheriff’s Office has no authority to enforce any laws regarding all the materials on his property. That is a township issue.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH