Members of Wheeling Metropolis Council are in a rush to start work on their proposed $14.5 million public security constructing, which the fireplace and police departments want. However is that rush to development smart?
Council is poised to approve an option-to-buy settlement for property at 19th and Jacob streets, owned by Frank Calabrese.
If that buy goes by, Calabrese would obtain $150,000 instantly, with the opportunity of one other $195,000, plus $30,000 to cowl bills in shifting his property out of an outdated warehouse on the website.
For so long as 18 months, the $195,000 would sit in an escow account whereas metropolis officers pursue state and/or federal funding for environmental remediation of the location. If that funding comes by, Calabrese would obtain the $195,000. If not, it will be used for cleanup work.
Quite a lot of questions in regards to the proposal come up. Amongst them:
– Why was an option-to-buy settlement wanted? Is another celebration desirous about shopping for the property from Calabrese — and if that’s the case, why would town wish to block them?
– In all of Wheeling, is there no different website appropriate for a public security constructing? That appears to be metropolis officers’ competition.
– Why are council members so wanting to lock within the buy earlier than a conclusive, skilled analysis of contamination within the floor and issues within the outdated warehouse, akin to asbestos, has been accomplished?
– What if the price of making the location usable is exorbitant, maybe in extra of $1 million, and isn’t lined by state or federal funding? Are metropolis taxpayers on the hook?
– Have sufficient skilled evaluations of the 19th and Jacob streets property been carried out to make sure it’s appropriate for the security constructing with out expensive website preparation?
– Is the land actually definitely worth the complete of $375,000 metropolis officers are ready to pay for it?
– And maybe most essential: What’s the frenzy? Why not proceed extra intentionally?
There could also be an apparent reply to that one. On the second Tuesday in Could, Wheeling voters will go to the polls to elect a mayor and metropolis council members. Winners will take workplace July 1.
Time is brief, then, for the present administration to undertake a signature venture that can not be stopped, even when it proves to be a expensive mistake.