Reynoldsburg City Council is considering legislation to purchase a vacant lot on East Main Street and create a parking lot in Old Reynoldsburg.

Reynoldsburg City Council is considering legislation to purchase a vacant lot on East Main Street and create a parking lot in Old Reynoldsburg.

Council members heard the first reading of the legislation at its May 12 meeting.

The ordinance would give Mayor Brad McCloud authority to purchase the lot at 7342 E. Main St. for $10,000. The lot is adjacent to property owned by the city at 7336 E. Main St., directly east of the Happy Dragon Chinese Restaurant.

After that first reading, the ordinance was sent back for discussion at the next community development committee meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 19, at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building,

McCloud said the properties have been vacant since a former appliance repair shop and a Dance One Studio were damaged in a two-alarm fire May 19, 2008. Both buildings were deemed unsafe and were demolished in September 2008.

"I'd like to turn the property into a parking lot for Old Reynoldsburg," McCloud said.

Councilwoman Leslie Kelly approved.

"I would love having a place to park in Old Reynoldsburg -- that would be great," she said.

According to public records, the lot is 2,614 square feet.

City Attorney Jed Hood said the city has owned the lot at 7336 E. Main St. since obtaining a court order in 2008 against the owner of the appliance repair shop, after he said he did not have the money to pay for the demolition.

Reynoldsburg filed suit in Franklin County Municipal Court's Environmental Division, which declared the property "a public nuisance," giving the city the right to tear down the fire-damaged building and charge the homeowner for the cost. When that bill went unpaid, the city placed a lien against the property that also went unpaid.

In December 2009, the city filed suit against the owner of the appliance store to foreclose on the lien. That action ultimately led to the city obtaining the deed to the property, Hood said.

McCloud said after Monday's council meeting that he would like work on the parking lot to begin this summer.

President's absences

Also at Monday's session, resident Norm Brusk read a letter in which he questioned why council President Doug Joseph had missed several scheduled committee and council meetings since the beginning of the year.

The letter said, in part, "Mr. Joseph owes the city the courtesy of doing what we are paying for or resigning his position."

Joseph said a medical condition caused him to miss the meetings.

"I am on a new medication that I hope will correct the issue and as long as I can do an adequate job, I will not resign," Joseph said.

He said a system is in place where a president pro tempore, in this case Councilman Chris Long, takes over the duties of council president when the president is absent.

Joseph said he has continued to meet with the clerk of council and perform other council duties on a weekly basis.

Brusk said he was sympathetic to Joseph's condition and "wished him a speedy recovery," but said, "Whether or not he has or had health problems, the fact is he missed a large majority of the meetings he was required to preside over, and it appears he had minimal contact with council members, council clerk and those in administration involved with council activities."

Joseph and council members did not respond to Brusk's comments, although Joseph interrupted him mid-speech to tell him his three minutes were up.

Speakers at council meetings are allotted three minutes for comments.