WEST ELKTON — Council discussed the possibility of a major retailer setting up shop in the village during its regular monthly meeting Monday, April 12.
Councilman John Berter stated that he’d been contacted multiple times by a Columbus-based realtor on behalf of an undisclosed retail company. The company has reportedly expressed interest in purchasing a vacant property located at the corner of OH-503 and Beechwood Ave in the village.
The company has also expressed interest in a wooded property located across the street from Fairmound Cemetery, according to Berter.
“I guess they’re really interested,” Berter said. “They want to build here, and they need two acres.”
Berter indicated that while the company would have to deal directly with the owners of the properties in question in order to negotiate a purchase, it was in their best interest to contact council beforehand.
“If they can’t get our permission, there’s no point pursuing the property owners,” Berter said.
Berter and other council members seemed to react enthusiastically to the prospect, speculating that either Family Dollar or Dollar General might be the retail company in question. Dollar General has opened locations in Eaton, Gratis, Lewisburg, Camden and West Alexandria in recent years.
Berter raised the possibility of selling the property currently occupied by the former West Elkton Intermediate School, but council member Gary Thompson indicated that the need for asbestos disposal would likely make the school building demolition prohibitively expensive, saying it could cost as much as $300,000.
“It’s the school’s responsibility,” Thompson said of the former school facility. “If they’d tear it down we might have something.”
Also during Monday’s meeting:
Mayor Gevella Wilt raised the possibility of distributing fliers in opposition to Preble Shawnee’s upcoming general operations levy. The proposed .75-percent income tax, which would cost workers in the school district $.75 for every $100 of taxable income, was last passed in 2010 and expired in Dec. 2015. It will appear on the ballot for the sixth time in May.
“They’re trying to push it through. They’re trying to raise our taxes again,” Wilt said. “It’s such a slap in the face to West Elkton.”
Preble Shawnee Board of Education voted to close West Elkton Intermediate School in July 2020, saying it would save the school district approximately $460,000 in maintenance and manpower costs annually.
West Elkton council has been vocal in its opposition to the closure, saying it would deprive the village of income tax revenue and create a blight on the community if the building is abandoned by the district and left to decay. Concerns have also been raised about costs associated with the building’s sewer facilities being passed on to village residents.
Wilt questioned whether residents would make it to the polls in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but said she hoped the prevalence of the vaccine would improve matters in that regard.
“Hopefully people will have had their shots,” Wilt said.
Finally, council voted to accept a $122,000 bid from Hamilton, Ohio-based W.G. Stang, Inc. to replace sidewalks and culverts on either side of Maple Ave between Sycamore St and West Elkton Rd.
“They did a good job for us before,” Berter said, to which Thompson agreed.
“Why change if they did a good job?” Thompson asked. “They’re local, and they hire all local people, which I like.”
The company’s bid was accepted by unanimous vote.
West Elkton council meetings take place the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish