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Ferry looks to sell city property

MARTINS FERRY — Martins Ferry officials discussed selling city property on Wednesday.

Mayor John Davies told City Council that potential buyers recently reached out to him. They are looking at two lots where Hanover and Fifth streets intersect. He said one lot is currently used for parking, and the other lot is the small park where the Christmas tree is usually set up.

Service Director Andy Sutak said he was also recently contacted by people interested in purchasing city property.

“I was approached by a family that would like to purchase a property lot that the city owns up in Crawford Heights right below where the park is right now,” he said.

Sutak said the family would like to build a house on the property. He noted that the plan would increase the tax base within the city.

“I think I’ll bring it up to all council people to see what their feelings are to maybe put it up for bid and for sale,” he said.

All members of council voted to allow Sutak to look into the value of the properties and put them up for sale.

In other news, President of Council Kristine Davis said that due to technical difficulties, Wednesday’s council meeting was not livestreamed.

“I don’t know how many times we’ve delayed it. … By next meeting, we should be able to livestream these meetings, which will be just super as far as I’m concerned. That will be something that really puts us into the current century for one thing, but it’ll allow us to reach out to the citizens. They’ll be able to hear what we do, and they’ll be able to have a better idea of the business they miss when they aren’t able to attend meetings,” she said.

Davis said council members will have training on how to use the technology this afternoon.

Once the livestreaming services are up and running, there will be a link to watch council meetings at martinsferry.org. Residents can also watch the videos by subscribing to the City of Martins Ferry YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, Mayor John Davies said the city is working with the Martins Ferry School Board to get funding for the Alumni Road and School Road repairs.

“It’s progressing. Hopefully, we get that taken care of here shortly and come to some kind of agreement where it is fixed, safe and reopened,” he said.

Davies said he wanted to warn drivers against driving on Alumni Road while it is closed.

“If you’re caught driving on Alumni Road and you’re not a school bus, you’re going to get a ticket, period. I don’t care who you are,” he said.

Davies also wanted to remind drivers that turning left onto School Road from Ohio 647 is not permitted.

“People who turn left at the bottom of the hill where it says ‘no left turn’ are creating a hell of a hazard there. Somebody’s going to end up getting hurt,” he said.

Davies also discussed having the police officers work 12-hour shifts instead of 10-hour shifts.

“This is going to open up the door for them to have more opportunity to hire other police officers coming in. It’ll make it just easier for them to schedule,” he said.

Police Chief Jerry Murphy presented council with a sample schedule to see how the shifts would be set up.

Murphy said that full-time officers will work 36 hours one week and 44 hours the other week for each two-week pay period. He said almost all of the officers were on board with the changes.

Davies said he wanted council’s feedback on the proposal, but Murphy can reverse the decision at any time. Davies asked council to take some time to look over the sample schedule and information that he and Murphy provided and give feedback at a later date.

Davies also addressed the recent damage done to the recreation center. He described the damage as “superficial.”

“They knocked some ceiling tiles down,” he said.

Davies said the rec center was shut down for a couple of weeks, noting that the programs there are entirely run by volunteers. If people continue to cause damage or show disrespect, he said he will close the rec center.

Councilmen Ben Neiman and James Schramm were absent from Wednesday’s meeting.

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