Second Ward Councilwoman Jo Ann Aeh has requested the city administration to look into the encroachment of the Portsmouth City School District athletic complex onto the city of Portsmouth right-of-way, specifically the east side of Findlay Street between Gallia Street and Ninth Street and the south side of Ninth Street between Findlay and the Second Presbyterian Church property, the location of the Portsmouth City Schools baseball field and their track and field facility.
At the time, the Daily Times wrote about the situation at the end of June 2016, Aeh called attention to the fact that there are things erected in the middle of the walkway.
“We have a huge encroachment on city property by the city school system,” Aeh said in June. “If you go down Ninth Street, they have put their fences for their softball team where the sidewalk used to be. They moved the sidewalk to the curve. It’s no longer in line with the other side of Waller Street. On the south side of Ninth Street along the track, they have done the same thing. In places, two people can’t walk together.”
Aeh said if one walks down Findlay, just past Kirby’s Flowers, on the east side of the street, the same conditions exist.
“There are fences for their baseball and then further down for their track is where the sidewalk was,” Aeh said. “Where the green space was, is now where the sidewalk is. There are five or six utility poles right in the middle of those sidewalks. There are two fire hydrants right in the middle of those sidewalks. You can’t get a baby carriage stroller around them and no one in a wheelchair.”
The Times photographed both a fire hydrant and a metal utility pole in the path of the walkway.
Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen said a review of the city records for the time period that the facilities were constructed, some time around 2007 or 2008, does not turn up any plans, permits or information relating to the project. He said the city’s records are not very organized and that some have been moved to other locations and yet others have turned up missing. Apparently, a review of the facility was performed in Columbus by the contracted plans reviewer.
“My office has received zero complaints from citizens regarding this matter,” Allen said. “This is not a priority for the city administration. In the end if there is an investigation, litigation results or an agreement with the school has to be negotiated for permission to encroach on the right-of-way the taxpayers will be the ones paying the cost.”
Allen said if City Council wishes to pursue the matter, the city will hire a surveyor to delineate out the property oline/right-of-way line on the east side of Findlay Street and on the south side of Ninth Street to determine if there is encroachment on the city right-of-way.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.