West Elkton passes fire code, discusses beautification efforts

By Anthony Baker - abaker@aimmediamidwest.com

WEST ELKTON — West Elkton Village Council approved the adoption of a new fire code and discussed efforts to deal with blighted and damaged properties in the village at its monthly meeting Monday, June 10.

Council voted unanimously to adopt measures identical to those contained in the State of Ohio’s current fire code. These measures will give the township’s fire chief the authority to inspect businesses and residences in the village for fire hazards.

Council member Gary Thompson presented a draft of a letter to be distributed to residents concerning efforts to beautify the village. The letter will inform residents that owners of properties felt to be in serious disrepair or in need of clean-up, as well as damaged or non-functioning vehicles left unattended on village streets, will be issued a 30-day notice before possibly receiving a citation.

“We’re hoping to inspire people to want to help out on their own, rather than coming on in an aggressive or condescending way,” Thompson said of the letter

Mayor Gevella Wilt expressed similar sentiments.

“Things happen,” Wilt said. “People start taking care of their parents and don’t have time to finish projects. We understand that.”

Wilt stressed that it is the responsibility of property owners, and not the village, to keep privately owned structures in good repair, however.

“The problem is getting people to volunteer to take care of things on their own,” Wilt said. “They expect us to do it.”

Council member Charlie Pennington was a bit more strict.

“The only thing we can do is send a threatening letter saying ‘Fix it up or we’ll do it, and then bill you,’” Pennington said.

West Elkton residents present during the meeting asked whether grant or county funds could be used to demolish or repair blighted properties. Councilman Pennington reported he had sent a letter to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources inquiring about Natureworks Grant funds.

“There’s so much funding out there, but applying for it takes time,” Mayor Wilt said.

Village council meetings take place the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the West Elkton Municipal Building, located at 135 N. Main St.

By Anthony Baker