St. C. approves commons

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The city council held the third reading accepting the preliminary plan and plat approval for the St. Clair Commons Subdivision and the St. Clair Commons Health and Quality of Life Campus and Hotel.

Melanie Wollenberg, executive vice president of marketing with Equity Development, gave a brief presentation. The project is composed of approximately 760,000 square feet. The first phase, comprised of wellness senior housing, multi-family and hotel, is 550,000. Written commitments are in hand regarding the wellness, senior housing and hotel. A restaurant may be established later.

Wollenberg said the site lends itself to market-rate apartments. She added that well-done apartments can make quality neighbors that add value to the land. There are a maximum of 160 apartments.

Private investments into the project come to $140-$150 million in addition to the 40 acres of donated land they are anticipating. The wellness center boasts almost $30 million and the senior housing is looking at $25-$42 million. The multi-family is looking at $18 million, with the hotel and restaurant at $12 million and office and retail at $35 million.

The wellness building will produce 141 temporary jobs and 250 permanent jobs in the market. The total is about 550 temporary and 1,050 in permanent jobs created.

Total economic impact is half a billion dollars. They hope to break ground by October.

In other matters, Service Director Dennis Bigler reported that the city is still awaiting news of a possible paving grant for South Sugar Street.

President Pro Tempore Terry Pugh noted that the city has been receiving complaints regarding the state of Union Cemetery. He noted the cemetery was private, with no connection to the city. Pugh, who is also chair of the board for the cemetery, said they were working to address the issues.

Mayor Robert Vincenzo added that the city has also been contacted about parking issues and the lack of spaces. Police Chief Jeff Henry is researching the possibility of paid permits for three lots below the library. These include 33 parking spaces.

The city has also requested the county auditor certify rates for a renewal of the police levy on the November ballot.

The city also passed a budget of $12 million. The finance director said the amounts were similar to last year’s in terms of revenue and expenditures. There has been a slight increase in revenue in the general fund due to a levy passed in November. This offset decreased revenue from the loss of local government and the estate tax.

Council motioned to transfer $41,000 from the general fund to the street department to address emergency paving on Sugar Street.

The city has received the health insurance quote from the Health Plan. An increase of 36.6 percent is expected.

Also, about 800 water meters remain to be replaced. Anyone who has not yet made an appointment is asked to contact the city.

The police committee will meet Thursday at 1 p.m. The fire district will meet 7:30 a.m. today, followed by an 8 a.m. budget meeting. The regular meeting will be held July 23, 4 p.m.

The city is also awaiting quotes for the maintenance and service agreement for the city building and rec center.

Council heard a request to hold a Worship Under the Stars fireworks display Aug. 12, 9 a.m. at the rec center.

DeFrank can be reached at