No buyers for crumbling Lisbon building Tuesday

LISBON – A downtown Lisbon building which houses two businesses and has become a safety issue will go back on the auction block later this month after there were no buyers at the sheriff’s sale held Tuesday.

The building on the corner of South Market Street and South Park Avenue, owned by Gary and Christina Hamilton of Canfield, failed to attract any buyers during a delinquent property tax foreclosure sale held at the Columbiana County Courthouse.

The building, which currently houses the Happy Clipper II beauty salon and the now-closed Sweet Jane’s restaurant, will go back up for sheriff’s sale July 29.

The opening bid at Tuesday’s delinquent property tax sale was $12,153, which represented the back property taxes, accrued interest and penalties. The property also has a secondary lien against it in the amount of $64,000.

Along with the issue of unpaid taxes, the brick building’s condition has been a growing cause of concern among village officials, who fear it could collapse. There is a hole in the corner of the building, and bricks have begun to fall onto the sidewalk on South Market Street, resulting in the village closing off the sidewalk for safety reasons.

The law requires the property be offered at a second sheriff’s sale for just the back taxes. If there are no takers at the July 29 hearing then the property will be auctioned off by the county auditor’s office, with the bidding starting at $5.

Lisbon Solicitor Virginia Barborak said it is her understanding if it gets to that, the village has first chance to acquire the property for the back taxes, but council is not interested in doing that.

Meanwhile, Barborak met Tuesday night with council in executive session to discuss seeking a court injunction against the Hamiltons to force them to make the building safe.

County Treasurer Linda Bolon recognized the damage as she sat at her desk.

“Just seeing it from my window, it needs to be in for some work,” Bolon said. “People have come through the building and stopped to have lunch throughout the years.”

The safety concerns outside the building along with the extra costs to make these repairs may have served as major factors in the building not being sold.

While Bolon is disappointed the building did not sell Tuesday, she also understands the building will need a major renovation.

“I hate to see historical buildings not go up for sale, but I do understand the building is in disrepair,” Bolon said. “The cost is going to be excessive to reinstate it to its former state.”

Local preservationist Stevie Halverstadt doubts the building is in danger of completely collapsing because it consists of three layers of bricks, and only the outer layer is in disrepair.

Speaking at Tuesday night’s village council meeting, Halverstadt said the problem with the building and several of the other historic buildings in town is they were repointed at some point with the incorrect mortar that, instead of preventing moisture, is diverting moisture to the brick, causing it to deteriorate.

“Unless we help these people we’re going to lose all of these buildings,” she said.