PDT Staff Writer
Portsmouth Mayor David Malone says the city’s building committee, charged with making recommendations as to possible future locations for city operations, have requested a work study to be done on the current city building.
“We’ll move forward with the request from the building committee to hire a structural engineer at a cost of $6,500 dollars,” Malone said. “There is money that we do have to get this study done, so they can look at this building and see if it’s viable or not, and so that the committee can come back with a recommendation to Council and the Mayor. So we will be moving forward with that probably this week.”
Second Ward City Councilman Rich Saddler, who chairs the building committee, told Council there was no meeting this month because not enough members of the committee showed up for the meeting to have a quorum. Saddler said he received the packets from the City Clerk concerning the company that does the city’s structural engineering.
Fourth Ward Councilman James Kalb, a former mayor of Portsmouth, reminded Council several years ago a detailed report was done on the structure of the city building.
“There should be copies of it around, and I should still have one somewhere if you would be interested in looking at it,” Kalb said.
Saddler wanted a closer examination.
“We have it and it wasn’t very specific,” Saddler said. “I mean it was, but a lot of the specifics have already been taken care of, but there are some other issues that arose.”
Saddler said he believes the committee is close to making a recommendation.
“I don’t really know what’s going to happen at our next meeting. I know we’re going to discuss that,” Saddler said. “Mr. (Sean) Boldman has some items he would like to discuss, and make some suggestions to help us to get closer to give you (Malone) and the president (John Haas) a conclusion to that issue. I feel personally, in my opinion, probably in the next couple of months, we ought to be able to have something to present to Council and yourself. So if everybody will just hold with us, it will be the third Wednesday of September at 5:30 (p.m.) in these chambers.”
Sixth Ward Councilman Steve Sturgill brought up a discussion that Council had in February concerning the city building issue.
“One of the things I asked at that time, if in fact we had any plans or if we had contacted anybody in regards to actually working with the Marting’s Foundation to continue to request the funding, and to at least find out if there is anybody interested in buying that building, or whether there was a need for us just to simply contact a contractor and start collecting bids to tear that building down, and again ask the Marting’s Foundation for assistance,” Sturgill said.
Malone said progress will be made after the building committee returns with its decision.
“I think they have looked into it, but I think the bottom line is to tear it down at this particular point,” Portsmouth Mayor David Malone said. “We’re waiting until the building committee comes back with their recommendation. Then we will move forward with everything.”
“That is one of the pieces of city property that has been identified as property that is to be sold regardless of whether we build a new building or renovate this one. It is in the loop of having something done with it and trying to sell it. My personal opinion is that I would rather sell it than to spend money to tear it down.”
Sturgill said he hears a lot of comments from business people from out of town about the boarded up buildings downtown, one of which is the Marting’s Building.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org