MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Dilapidated Buildings Commission went over some old ground at its August meeting on Tuesday.
Among other things the commission continued to discuss the property and building at 500 N. McKenzie St., also known as Roundhill Mansion, and 301 N. Mulberry St., also known at the old middle school.
Mount Vernon Code Enforcement Officer Larry Fogel reported on a meeting he and Safety-Service Director David Glass had with Dr. Irwin Weber, owner of the Roundhill Mansion property.
“We met with Dr. Weber near the end of June,” Fogel said. “We had what we thought was a productive meeting and talked about the things that were on his mind and the things that were on our mind. We are awaiting a definitive timetable from him. I’m not sure when that will happen, but I expect that within the week.”
Glass said he had talked to Peggy Curtis, who lives next door to the property, and she had told him Weber was periodically there and was doing some mowing and was having work done on a chimney.
“One of the reactions I had to the property when I first saw it was that it looked like an old haunted house,” Fogel added. “He’s done some work but not enough to satisfy us. The ball is in his court now.”
The commission will continue to monitor the situation.
Fogel brought the commission up to date on the old middle school at 301 N. Mulberry St.
“I have not been up on the roof there,” he said. “But I can see there are a lot of materials staged there. And I see an Amish work crew there from time to time. In my last talk with (building owner John) Bechtel he indicated to me the rainy weather has been a hindrance to getting any work done. I’m not sure how much progress has been made there.”
Glass noted there was some concern the state permits to work on the building were running out soon. The permit to work on the windows will expire at the end of August, according to Glass. The structural/mechanical permit was granted in March of this year and is good for a year.
Fogel said he thought all of the windows Bechtel planned to keep as windows have been replaced. He said he understood Bechtel’s plan was to close up several openings that were originally used as windows.
Mike Hillier, Mount Vernon City Council member and frequent observer of the commission, disagreed with the commission’s position that because of the state permits to do work that the building is a construction site and not a dilapidated building.
“We still have broken windows in that building,” he said. “I have personally driven by the building and seen broken windows. We have a (city) ordinance that says broken windows must be replaced. There has been no plans sent to the state of Ohio for further construction unless you have heard different. He has not done what the ordinance says. I disagree that it is not our problem.”
“I agree that it will always be a city problem,” Glass said. “The question is whether it is a (dilapidated buildings) commission problem.”
“It is the administration’s job to push for plans for the next phase,” Hillier added. “He can’t work on any more windows after the end of the month unless he gets a new permit; or an extension.”
Fogel said the distinction the commission made several months ago was that this was now a construction site and that the commission would continue to monitor the situation.
“If we don’t keep pushing, production will stop,” Hillier said. “Twelve years is long enough.”
The commission also covered two buildings that were slated for demolition. These are 510 E. Gambier St. and 401 Wooster Road. These two properties are part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program designed to help stop the deterioration of neighborhoods by providing grants to demolish dilapidated buildings.
“We’re under contract to Deer Creek Construction for the work,” Glass said. “There are only two buildings here in Mount Vernon and a couple more in the county.”
Glass said he thought there were about 35 or 40 houses contracted to be demolished in the district, which includes Knox and Richland counties.