MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Dilapidated Buildings Commission took up the matter of the old middle school building along with several other items at its meeting Tuesday.
Larry Fogle, city code enforcement officer, reported he had been taken on a tour of the building, primarily to check whether the required new windows had been installed. At the March meeting, Mount Vernon City Council member Mike Hillier questioned whether all of the windows had been installed because plywood was being used to cover some of the window openings. Fogle told the commission he saw all of the windows in place as required, with a couple of exceptions where large windows would not stay windows, but would become doors or be blocked off permanently.
Hillier asked about the windows covered with plywood, and Fogle said that John Bechtel, owner of the building, told him that was for security purposes, and the plywood was on windows at ground level.
“The commission required windows be replaced, and that’s what was done,” Fogle said. “That some of them are covered with plywood has nothing to do with what we required.”
Councilman Jay Maners was also on hand to speak about the building. Maners has a tool rental business, and in the course of delivering equipment to the site, was able to take a tour of the building. Maners told the commission Bechtel had gotten official blueprints and state permits to do work on the building.
“I met Mr. Bechtel over there and took a tour of the building,” Maners said. “He is under construction and does have things moving, although not at a very fast pace. But he is working at it. He does have state plans and I got to see copies of them with the state stamp on them. So we have something to keep him accountable to. He is progressing, he is doing work there. And as far as a job site, it seemed fairly safe.”
Maners, who is not a member of the commission, suggested that with state permits, stamped blueprints and work being done on the premises. the site had gone from being a dilapidated building to being a construction site, which he said would largely put the matter in state hands. The commission decided it would keep tabs on the matter and require a monthly visit to the site.
In other business:
•Glass reported four properties had been demolished and one had been repaired since the last meeting.
•One property, 611 E. Gambier St., was condemned for a deteriorating porch.
•It was reported that demolition was pending on 14 Cottage St. and 11 Marion St. These are part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and will be taken down as soon as the money and contractors were in place for the job.
•Charges were filed in Municipal Court by the law director on 301 and 305 N. Norton St.
•Two properties, 914 Howard St. and 4 South St., were referred to the law director.
•City Council members Nancy Vail and John Fair were also on hand to suggest, along with Maners, that the commission try to contact local churches that might be interested in helping property owners who were elderly or had limited means to bring properties with limited problems up to specifications. Fogle said a couple of groups had been doing that, but they had limited means and tended to concentrate on their own parishioners or others in the immediate neighborhood. Glass said he would try to contact some pastors about the idea.