Wheeling City Council moves to still purchase the controversial property on 19th & Jacob Street

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OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF)- Wheeling City Council has just moved forward with a huge property buy in East Wheeling. Council just made the decision to purchase the property at 19th and Jacob Street. It was once going to be the site of the new public safety building but the former OVMC spot is now slated for that.

The City of Wheeling is now in the process of purchasing a 3-acre flat piece of land on 19th and Jacob Street. Acquired for $150,000, there will also be remediation costs and potential demolition which could add over $300,000 more to the price tag. $100,000 for remediation (vapor barrier and tackling its partial flood plain status) and $250,000 for demolition. And one resident is skeptical of this.

Wheeling resident, Timothy Dolan, said at today’s council meeting “I’m against buying a toxic dump we have no idea what the costs are going to be involved people have said we got Brownfield money I’ve confirmed today that’s not the case I don’t know how we can have Brownfield money for something we don’t own I don’t have no idea why we would buy that place it’s a toxic dump.”

Members of council are more optimistic. Vice Mayor Thalman has said that the money agreed on for purchase is significantly less than the initial asking price and it is an opportunity for future economic development. The purpose is for this spot to be marketed for various potential development.

3rd Ward Councilwoman, Rosemary Ketchum, told 7News “we believe that if we don’t act now it’s only going to get worse in the future, I understand so many of the frustrations that community members have around dilapidated and vacant buildings unfortunately the vacant properties in our city tell a story that I think is unfair and unflattering in regards to who we are and what we believe, we’re open for conversation and I think this also in so many ways opens up a discussion around accountability, I’m confident we have a really good team of folks who want the best for the city and who are really trying to find the best ways that we can promote economic development, clean up blight, and really set our city up for success in the future.”

Ketchum says remediation costs will likely be covered by grants and the demolition cost is standard for a site like this, which used to be a manufacturing facility. The purpose is to maintain and make it a safe property. She says they’re always open for comments and questions both at or out of their council meetings.

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