“I think the use of the football and baseball stadiums we already have would be more beneficial to the community,” he said. “Everybody I talk to, that's what they'd like to see.”
Mohr was referring to the city-owned Spartan Stadium and Branch Rickey Park.
School officials want to build football and baseball fields, a track and other athletic sites just off Waller Street, where the old Portsmouth High School once stood.
But Mohr said by doing so, the schools system is taking away property that could be used for retail. He said the schools system should renovate the old stadiums or build new ones at the same locations.
Mohr said City Council probably would allow that to happen, providing Notre Dame High School could use the fields.
“We hate to see more tax duplicates come off, even though a lot of the property is already vacant and not being used,” he said. “But we do hope in the future that it could be used.”
The city offered Spartan Stadium and Branch Rickey Park to the schools system several months ago for $1. But the system rejected the offer and announced plans for the downtown athletic complex.
Mohr said the city could stop the schools system from building the stadium, but it wouldn't make good sense to.
“I would like to see them reconsider and think hard about it,” he said. “Because they're taking money out of their own pocket. Each house, each business, each building they tear down or vacant lot they fill, that is tax dollars out of their pocket.”
Ohio schools are funded by property taxes.
“That means everybody else who owns a house or property in town will continue to carry more of the burden,” Mohr said. “They've taken down a tremendous amount of property for the schools. Now they're looking to take a tremendous amount more. That means a bigger burden on us.”
School officials say they are using a $10 million donation to building the athletic complex.
“But what about monies to maintain it over the next 20 to 30 years,” Mohr said. “Who's going to pay for that?”
School officials asked City Council to prepare legislation to vacate some streets and alleys for the athletic complex.
But City Council instead sent the proposal to the planning commission per city charter mandate.
In other business, City Council passed ordinances: