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Barberton City Council rejects proposal to pursue vacant property

By Heather Beyer
Ohio.com correspondent

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BARBERTON: Council rejected legislation Monday that would allow city officials to purchase the property of the former Oakdale Elementary School.

Council voted against a proposal, drafted by councilman John Lysenko, with a 5-3 vote that would have allowed the city to attempt to buy the land for $1 to use the property as a park.

Even if the legislation passed, any endeavor hinged on the actions of Summa Barberton Hospital, which currently has a purchase agreement with the Board of Education for $73,000. Hospital officials are planning to transform the property into a parking lot despite concerns from residents.

Brant Russell, vice president of operations for Summa Barberton and Wadsworth Hospitals said the deck currently being used by the hospital was built around 1973 and needs to torn down.

"It leaves us with a serious parking issue," Russell said. "It's imperative [for the hospital] to provide a better parking solution."

Russell said that the hospital has already invested a million dollars into the lot and has no plans to build a replacement deck as it is too costly and has a "tremendous amount of maintenance." 

Lysenko’s legislation received strong opposition from council Vice President Terry Avant and Service Director Elwood Palmer.

Avant was concerned the school board wouldn’t receive the funds it deserved for the property if the proposal was approved.

"I will not vote to let the school board sell it for $1 when the value is more," Avant said.

Palmer said he opposed the legislation because he did not have the personnel available to maintain an additional park in the city.


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