City council members indicated they favored purchasing used scaffolding to use as a barrier in front of the TanFastic building and part of the Butler Art building downtown.
Mayor John Berlin updated council members Tuesday on the price of various options to safeguard against falling debris from the State Street buildings while opening the sidewalk and street to use again with the Salem Super Cruise coming up.
Council members who spoke preferred the idea of buying used scaffolding because it was cheaper than a wooden tunnel that had been suggested and the scaffolding could be used over again. Owning was also more economical than renting.
He said the prices he secured were $7,000 to purchase new scaffolding, which would taken six to eight weeks, or $5,500 to purchase used scaffolding. The cost to rent from a Cleveland firm was $900 a month, while a local contractor offered scaffolding for rent at $550 per month. The cost for building the wooden structure was set at $12,500 and could be built for reuse. In all cases, he said they were looking at using the scaffolding for up to six months or more because they didn't think the situation with the TanFastic building would be resolved for at least six months or longer.
The money for the purchase will come from the municipal event fund, which is here profits from the Salem Super Cruise have gone.
Prior to the discussion, Salem resident Lisa Cahill addressed council concerning the TanFastic building, saying she and her husband Scott had talked with the mayor and been in joint meetings with other groups and started trying to address the TanFastic building last fall.
She said they procured options to purchase the TanFastic building and the building to the east. They talked with a bank about possibly forgiving a lien on the TanFastic building, which is owned by Timothy and Deborah Smith.
According to Cahill, all progress stopped in mid-December, claiming a group led by Larry Kosiba took over negotiations and alleging the city wouldn't have had to worry about scaffolding or building some wooden structure if the Cahills' plans had been able to move forward. She said all progress stopped, alleging "this problem is in the lap of Mr. Kosiba."
Kosiba serves as the executive director of the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center and has been working on bringing development to the city, especially to the areas on the north and east sides served by Tax Increment Financing Zones.
He did not attend the council meeting and wasn't present to hear what was said, but when contacted by phone, he said he never talked to the building owner or the bank and has not been involved in any kind of negotiations, noting the building is in litigation. The city had filed action demanding the owner fix the building or tear it down and the case remains pending in Common Pleas Court.
"If anybody wants to go buy the building, nobody is standing in the way," Kosiba said.
During the meeting, Scott Cahill made some comments about successes and failures. He had led an effort for downtown revitalization and said people have an opportunity to "subrogate our personal philosophies and attachments...the time has come to put the betterment of our city and our downtown before that."
He said everybody needs to move forward and that the people expect it.
Councilman Dave Nestic addressed the comments made by both Cahills and said he takes their accusations seriously and will look into them, but also encouraged them to re-engage regarding the TanFastic building. He said the city should not stand in the way of that.
Council President Mickey Cope Weaver said the Cahills' efforts had "ignited the fire - that's a good thing."
She said she's on board with them regarding their downtown efforts, but the city government has to keep the whole city in mind.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org