LEWISBURG — Village Council discussed safety ordinances and efforts to revitalize the downtown business district during a pair of regular public meetings last month.
Council approved the first reading of an ordinance designating a one-block portion of N. Commerce Street – between Twin St. and North Water St. – as an area of slum or blight during its Oct. 15 meeting, potentially making the village eligible to receive federal Downtown Revitalization Grant dollars to rehabilitate the area.
The owners of three vacant buildings on Commerce St which previously housed downtown businesses are working with the village to secure up to $250,000 in funding, according to Municipal Manager Jeff Sewert, which would allow cosmetic improvements to the properties – along with surrounding lights, sidewalks, fire hydrants and parking areas – as well as renovations to bring electrical systems and other facilities up to code.
Applications have already been submitted to County Commissioners, according to Sewert, but the project may not move forward until the middle of next year.
The village previously received $500,000 in grant funding to revitalize other areas of the downtown business district, according to Sewert, resulting in improvements to 19 buildings which took place during 2017 and 2018.
“It’s been a team effort,” Sewert said of the ongoing project. “Between the village, the Chamber of Commerce, and Susan Laux at Mote & Associates – we all work together.”
Sewert was proud of the work done so far, calling it one of the most worthwhile and rewarding efforts he’s been involved with.
“Some grants, you sit back and think, what did that money do? But this one did exactly what it says – it revitalized downtown,” Sewert said. “It’s one of the best projects I’ve seen in all my years of public service.”
Also during last month’s meetings:
Council discussed passing an ordinance to protect residents from improperly secured dogs during its Oct. 1 meeting.
Council previously discussed the potential ordinance in September. Two residents whose pets had been mauled spoke before the council at length at that time, with one claiming she was walking her dog near W. Twin St. and Horn in the village when two pit bulls slipped under the fence surrounding a nearby property and attacked, resulting in injuries requiring four stitches.
A local nurse also spoke, saying her young daughters had witnessed their dog being “ripped at and torn apart” in their own backyard.
Under the current village ordinance, the animals responsible are considered “at large,” rather than dangerous or vicious, designations which would require them to kill another dog or to seriously injure or kill a human being.
Village council meetings take place the first and third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Lewisburg Community Center, located at 6400 Knapke Ln.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish