O’Neil Center Lease Is Extended

The O’Neill Center lease was extended for an additional 90 days during Tuesday’s special session of Marietta City Council.

“The lease is up today, and needs to be extended,” said Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, who chairs council’s lands, buildings and parks committee.

He noted the lease extension is to give the city and the O’Neill Center board of trustees time to work out an agreement that would enable the board to purchase the municipal-owned building at 333 Fourth St.

The Southeastern Ohio Port Authority will assist with the property transfer when the transaction is finally worked out.The facility has been operated as a senior center for 30 years and leased from the city for $1 annually. During that time the city has borne major maintenance costs for the property.

Earlier this year it was suggested the city sell the property to the O’Neill board which would be a “win-win” situation for both parties as the city would be relieved of maintenance costs and ownership would allow the board to apply for grant funding to maintain and expand services to the local senior community.

But some concern has been voiced about whether a reversion clause should be included in the sale agreement that would require the property to be returned to the city if at sometime in the future the facility would cease to operate as a senior center.

Fact Box

What’s next

Marietta City Council will meet in regular session at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 10 of the Armory at 241 Front St.

All council meetings, except executive sessions, are open to the public.

Community Development Block Grant monies in the amount of $450,000 were used to help pay for construction of the building in 1980, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which administers the CDBG funds, could require that ownership of the building revert back to Marietta if it no longer serves the intended purpose for which it was built.

The 90-day extension approved by council Tuesday will provide city law director Paul Bertram III and the O’Neill board time to do research the original deed documents and determine how to best proceed with the property transaction.

“Nothing has changed for us, we’re still interested, and are just waiting on a full investigation of the proposed transaction,” said Connie Huntsman, executive director of the O’Neill Center.

By Sam Shawver| Marietta Times: June 1, 2016