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The Daily



07-02-03: Celina council OKs land lease

The Daily Standard
    Celina City Council approved a property lease that may result in a land purchase, despite a man's claim he holds a first option on a lease extension or purchase for the same property.
    Steve Piper told council members at Tuesday's special meeting that he is running a business out of one of the buildings on the seven-acre parcel the city is considering purchasing from Heffner Investments, Ltd. Though he did not produce proof, he told city officials during the public comment portion of the meeting he has options with the landlord to renew his lease or purchase the property.
    The council did not directly comment to Piper on his claim, stating that issue lies between Piper and the property owner.
    Member Collin Bryan said he spoke with the controlling interest of Heffner Investments, Bill Heffner, and was assured there are no other existing agreements on the land.
    The land lies west of Deford Street, north of Heirholzer Street and east of Fairlawn Heights subdivision. It is currently not part of the city of Celina, though completely surrounded by city land. Mayor Paul Arnold said the original owner Ralph Heffner never allowed the land to be annexed, and the city never forced the issue.
    Safety-Service Director Mike Sovinski said the land would be annexed into Celina if the purchase goes through.
    The ordinance passed Tuesday allows the city to enter into an 18-month lease for the land at $1,500 a month and includes an option to purchase at the end of the 18 months for $180,000.
    "There would be no real sense in going through with the lease if we weren't going to purchase the property," Sovinski said Tuesday.
    Arnold said Heffner chose to have an 18-month lease before the purchase.
    Sovinski said if any issues arise from Piper's claim, they would most likely result in the lease starting date of September being postponed.
    Sovinski said while the price may seem high, it is economical to the city because of the close location to the new substation on Summit Street and ability to modify it to fit the needs of the electric department.
    The buildings on the property cannot house the day-to-day operations of the electric department now, but can store equipment that is currently under the Touvelle Street water tower and other places.
    Sovinski also said the city would have the ability to complete Deford Street to North Street and sell some residential lots to recoup some of the purchase price.
    The existing electric distribution building behind the city utilities building on West Market Street can be used by the parks, streets or water distribution department, Sovinski said. Each of those departments is crammed for space, he added.


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P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822