Marysville News

Property owners, city learning from 2012 derecho


June 29 marked the one-year anniversary of the derecho that caused city officials and business owners to take a look at the stability of some of the historical buildings in Uptown Marysville.

An 1884 building that once housed the Fiesta Grande restaurant was so badly damaged that it had to be razed. Tom McCarthy, who owns a building just down the street at 127 W. Fifth St., said the storm caused a lot of business owners to take a look around and see what might need attention.

"I'm looking at my building different," McCarthy said.

The storm prompted him to re-inspect the roof, fix window seals and repair an exterior east-facing wall.

"I have a handyman lined up to take care of a few more places where exterior ornamentation, from the ground, appears to be possibly loose," he said.

Mayor John Gore said the upside of last summer's storm is that "it got everyone's attention again."

"It's a shame we had to lose the building we lost but at the end of the day, hopefully, we'll benefit from it in the future," Gore said.

City officials have held preliminary discussions about safety issues with some property owners and will talk with all property owners and work with TEAM Marysville to explore options.

Gore said the city and private business owners basically had the same thought at the same time.

"We were just trying to figure out what we could do," he said. "We've got some pretty old buildings Uptown. This is an issue TEAM Marysville started discussing internally also."

TEAM Marysville is a public-private partnership of city and Union County officials, property owners and business owners who have come together to oversee revitalization and economic development for Uptown Marysville.

City Administrator Terry Emery said the city wants to make sure Uptown property owners help devise a plan that also ensures pedestrian safety in Uptown.

"We're talking about exterior structures to ensure safety of people that are navigating around the Uptown area," he said.

One possibility would be to encourage property owners to do inspections at least once every five years, although the details have yet to be worked out.

"We're so early in the process we're even looking into what buildings would fall into the category," Emery said. "There is work ongoing and we'll continue to move forward and engage the Uptown businesses to make sure we have a cooperative program."

City Planner Greg Delong said any plan would only be for commercial property, not residential.

"We don't want residents to think we're coming into their homes," he said.

McCarthy pointed out the derecho was so unique that it might not have mattered what kind of plan was in place; the same damage could have happened either way. Emery agreed.

"I know it's a one-year anniversary of this event, but we may have had issues even if we had a program in place," he said.

McCarthy likes the fact that the city and Uptown building owners are working together.

"I think a lot of building owners have taken it upon themselves to address issues," he said. "This program that we've been talking about would provide a mechanism for ongoing review of the buildings and maybe find a way to pay for that. But we need to get people convinced that the assessment is worth it."

Delong thinks a safety program could pay off in helping to secure revitalization grants.

"We want a historic downtown. We're not going to have one if the buildings aren't there," he said.