Lisbon council accepts free advice on downtown revitalization

LISBON –Village Council agreed to take advantage of the free consulting services of a non-profit state agency to help with Lisbon’s continuing efforts to revitalize the downtown business district.

Council voted at this week’s meeting to authorize Mayor Roger Gallo to sign the necessary waiver for the village to begin receiving the consulting services of the Ohio Rural Community Assistance Program, a federally-funded non-profit that provides technical instrastructure and community development assistance to smaller communities.

The idea to take advantage of RCAP’s free consulting services was the idea of Councilman Peter Wilson, who learned of its services at a recent workshop hosted by Town Center Associates, the consulting firm hired by the village to work with them on revitalizing the downtown. He said RCAP has played a key role in helping the city of Columbiana come up with innovative ways to attract businesses.

Columbiana is not the only area community to avail itself of RCAP’s services. Wilson said Carrollton and Sebring are doing so, and Salem is going to sign up next, and RCAP’s Roberta Streifert offered to include Lisbon’s application with Salem.

There is no cost to the village, and the only requirement is the mayor sign off on a waiver committing Lisbon to abide by the Civil Rights Act.

In other business, council agreed to look into a stormwater complaint from Pendleton Street resident Larry Muntean, who said years ago the village installed a drain pipe that empties into his yard and it continues to wreak havoc.

“It’s eroding my back yard,” he said. “I’m going to lose my pool and I’m going to lose my garage.”

That is part of a larger stormwater problem that plagues the entire section of Pendleton, Summit and Garfield streets that results in stormwater continuing running through his property and his neighbor’s, Muntean said. He told Gallo, and councilmen Wilson and Tom Darcy, but only Wilson stopped by to see for himself.

Councilman Jerry Cox said they plan to install new stormwater drains in places on Garfield and North streets but Muntean was concerned that project would only direct more stormwater onto his property. Cox suggested holding off on the project for now until they can investigate Muntean’s complaint. He said the solution may be a comprehensive plan that addresses all of the stormwater problems in the area.

Village Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner, who also serves as council clerk, reported seven abandoned properties were mowed an average of 10 to 12 times per season since August 2018. The village charges $100 per mow and then bills the property owner by placing a lien on their real estate taxes.

Council passed on third and final reading legislation requiring the village to inspect commercial water backflow valves, something that was being done by the Columbiana County Health Department for $700 a year. Water department employees have now become certified to perform the inspections. Less than 10 businesses are affected.

Council gave the Chamber of Commerce permission to host a Zombie Crawl on the town square-south from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 26. The section of street to be used for the crawl has yet to be determined, and chamber officials said they will return for permission when they decide.