Questions about purchasing Economy Inn | News, Sports, Jobs

Letter to the Editor (Graphic Illustration/Metro Creative)

On August 22, the Urban Renewal Commission voted to spend $681,000 on a dilapidated Economy Inn motel on 7th Street. The original offer of $490,000 was on the council’s agenda for November 2022, but the owner was not satisfied with that amount, and the city and owner „Negotiations” Ever since. The final figure, $681,000, was for relocation costs and lost income for the owner and his family living in the inn. According to a city development planner, most of the units are unsafe or unfit for human occupation, and both the city Code Enforcement Office and the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department have cited the business for multiple violations over the years. Only minor repairs have been done over the years.

Several rational arguments were advanced. „If we took the property through eminent domain it would cost more.” And „We can’t afford not to do this.” Several citizens spoke about the increase in crime in the area, blaming the motel’s residents.

A real estate expert spoke at the public forum and advised that she tried to sell the property to the owner’s will, but she could not find any interested buyers. So, the owner approached the city to buy it.

Parkersburg citizens have many questions. Why are the taxpaying citizens of Parkersburg paying the lost income and relocation costs to the owner and his family? Did two different appraisers consider the condition of the property when coming up with the underlying value? What does the city plan to do with the property? Could other steps have been taken before this property was rejected to this level? Does code enforcement need new laws to enforce standards already on the books?

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Don’t get me wrong. I have been very vocal about addressing the ailing areas in our city because these affect the entire community. But I worry more about the paradigm that has become the norm. It started with the property at 19th and Dudley Avenue, and now this. Who will deliver to the town next?

It’s time for a change in 2024. Let’s vote for new leadership in Parkersburg for people with common sense, and don’t blow the entire budget for the URA on a rundown motel.

Sue Ellen Waybright


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