WEST ALEXANDRIA — During its last meeting, West Alexandria Village Council voted to suspend all current plans for the construction of a new Fire/EMS Building.
Instead, council planned a work session for Tuesday, Feb. 12, to discuss its next steps and investigating the total estimated cost of a project to purchase and utilize a building located at 119 E. Dayton Street, West Alexandria, to house all village departments.
The work session began with a tour of the property. The public was invited. Following the tour, council met to discuss its next steps.
Councilman Jeff Hickey began by asking Clerk-Treasurer Wendy Chesney if she had checked whether the levy money could be used to purchase the building. She replied, she had not yet checked into it.
Village Administrator Steve Weigold responded, he has had discussions which indicate the levy money could be used for the Fire/EMS portion of the building.
“Would we have to assign a square footage that would go to just the Fire/EMS and we could apply that square footage cost and use the levy funds for that portion? The other portions would have to come from our funds,” Councilman Jerry Carter asked.
Weigold responded, yes, the Fire/EMS portion would have to be valuated.
“I’m still questioning the levy dollars, because we put a resolution or ordinance that it be used specifically for this. There were people that were worried it would be moved from one line item to another. I may call out to the county tomorrow to ask exactly what it can be used for,” council member Holly Robbins said.
Council member Carter asked how council member Ray Waldeck came in possession of the keys for the property at 119 E. Dayton Street, and if there was a conflict of interest there.
“I got to talking to him about the building a couple months ago. I was trying to find out how much he is asking for and to go from there. The guy who controls the building lives in Versailles, Ohio. At a drop of a dime, he isn’t able to come down here to open it. He gave me the keys, because he trusts me going in and out of the building,” Waldeck said.
“He asked me to watch it. Any time you want to get in to see it or talk to him about it, he will come to the meetings, or whatever you want. I am not the negotiator to make the price of the building, we will have to hire somebody to do that. I am doing this for a friend, which I met by talking to him about the building. I did not go into the details, saying I want to take control or anything.
“I was just trying to sympathize and do things for the town to get things going for us. That is how I got the keys to go down there.”
Council member Robbins recommended hiring somebody to come in, ask the village what they want, what they need, and give them a cost for renovations to the building. She added, they need to know how much it will cost to retrofit the building before seriously considering the project. She suggested every council member develop their own list of wants and needs for the building.
It was also discussed if the library should be a part of the building project, but council agreed they should not. Mayor Carol Lunsford added, the current firehouse might be a good option for the library to eventually move to.
Various council members will be reaching out to local engineers and preparing lists of wants and needs.
The next regular West Alexandria Village Council meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. in the EMS Building.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH