PORTSMOUTH – Monday night, City Council voted 6-0 on the first reading of an ordinance that would transfer 515 Chillicothe Street – the former Marting’s building – to the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) for the purpose of redevelopment in downtown.
The building, which has been vacant for over two decades, has been owned by the city since 2002. Controversially, they paid $2 million for the former retail store.
“A lack of maintenance resulted in the premises degrading,” reads the ordinance. “Realizing the structure was not in the City’s long range plans, and with a desire to place the property back on the property tax rolls, the city has worked with SOPA to market the building and attempt to find a user for the property.”
City government has discussed finding new uses for city owned properties in an effort to increase tax revenue and economic development. City Manager Sutherland has made it clear that any deal for the Marting’s Building will require an in depth development plan and a suitable timetable.
The move would effectively end the chances of the city taking residence in the three story structure as has been rumored for years.
Instead, the City will begin looking to relocate elsewhere. Council is set to receive a $1.4 million dollar grant from the Richard D. Marting Foundation in separate legislation. The grant stipulates the funding must go towards the sole purpose of development for city municipal offices or related facilities suitable for the city’s general mission of service to the citizens of Portsmouth.
Wherever the relocation occurs – it also must be located ‘in the core center of downtown.’
Portsmouth City Council meets every second and fourth Monday at 6 p.m. at 728 2nd Street. The meetings are also live streamed via Facebook.
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