Council rejects Webb building offers
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Jun 28, 2013 | 800 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city of Cleveland retained ownership of the former law office of attorney James Webb after the Cleveland City Council rejected two offers on the building.

The Council voted Wednesday to reject offers from Jones Management and Nicholas Lillios at its regular meeting. Jones offered $50,000 and Lillios offered $65,000 for the building at 283 1st Street N.W. The property was offered “as is, where is.”

At-Large Councilman George Poe put forward the motion to reject all proposals.

According to Assistant City Manager Melinda Carroll, an independent appraiser valued the building at $200,000

First District Councilman Charlie McKenzie, who expressed doubt about accepting the building from the beginning, asked, “Would you pay $200,000 for that building?”

Fifth District Councilman Dale Hughes said, “We’ve received two offers for the building and neither one of them probably are enough, but I also want to state that the appraisal on this building is not right either. Two-hundred-thousand for that building is way overrated. The building has multiple problems. I would hope someone would come in with about $100,000, which would be a fair price. Maybe they will if we turn down this proposal.”

The City Council accepted the building as a gift, but never used the building and has no money invested in it except to winterize it.

City Manager Janice Casteel has stated it would cost the city $34,000 to correct the drainage on 1st Street that affects the Webb building and the adjoining building occupied by Superior Cleaners.

“The drainage problem is something we had liability for as a city,” she said.

According to past reports, Public Works Director Tommy Myers said the drainage pipe under the building collapsed. The plan is to circumvent the building by laying a 36-inch pipe in an effort to eliminate most of the water flowing underneath the building.

In other action, the Council authorized Myers to negotiate with a pair of property owners who have stalled a drainage project affecting Ocoee Street, Bowman and Centenary avenues and 8th Street. The two homeowners are opposed to granting the city a right of way through their properties.

“We do not have easements,” Myers said. “Generally in the old part of town you don’t find a lot of easements and they’re not willing to give us one.”

Myers said he has discussed a temporary easement, but has not discussed purchasing the easements because that is generally not the city’s practice.

“We’ve asked about every avenue, including right of entry. They just don’t want the pipe on their property. In order to get the pipe in there, several trees would have to be taken out between their houses and one of them is opposed to that,” Myers said. “One owner opposes it altogether. He doesn’t want to lose the privacy of the trees. I assured him we would install whatever type of tree he wanted back in there.”

He said there is an undersized pipe in the ground now that needs replacing with a larger pipe.

“I’m at a point where I don’t know what to do,” Myers said. “I have one little old lady on Bowman who calls me every time it rains. I’d love to get this job done.”

In other discussion, Parks and Recreation Director Patti Petitt said a donor has offered $50,000 to $75,000 for a dog park somewhere along the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway, possibly in Tinsley Park.

The fenced area would be divided to separate small dogs and big dogs. It would include drinking fountains and fire hydrants.

“It’s just a place to let a dog off the leash and let it run around,” Petitt said.

There was discussion about locating the dog play area in Fletcher Park, but it is too far away from town.

“Fletcher Park is out,” Petitt said.