Ocie Hill

The Ocie Hill Neighborhood Center is located at 445 Bowman St. on Mansfield's north side. (Richland Source file photo)

MANSFIELD -- It appears concerns with the city's decision seeking to non-renew the leases of some Ocie Hill Neighborhood Center tenants will be resolved.

The city notified at least some tenants by letter a few days ago that their leases would not be renewed at the city-owned building at 445 Bowman St., according to Public Works Director Dave Remy.

Representatives of two of the non-profits who lease space at the former Creveling School -- the Culliver Reading Center and the Mansfield Gay Pride Association -- attended the Mansfield City Council meeting Tuesday evening to express concerns.

Alomar Davenport

Mansfield City Council 4th Ward representative Alomar Davenport said Tuesday he is comfortable issues could be resolved for the dozen agencies that lease space in the Ocie Hill Neighborhood Center.

In response, 4th Ward Councilman Alomar Davenport, whose district includes the center, said he has spoken to the city administration and had reached "an agreement in principle" to resolve the issues, which included leases in arrears.

Afterward, Davenport said he was comfortable issues could be resolved for the dozen agencies that rent space in the building.

"I have been speaking with the mayor for the last three days trying to rectify the issues. There are different issues with each of the tenants. I am confident and I am trusting in the mayor and his acknowledgement that once those issues are rectified, we will go back to business as usual," Davenport said.

Prior to the council meeting, Remy said his office, the city's finance department, law director and parks and recreation department (which oversees the building) had met and decided to non-renew leases with some of the non-profits, including one entity he said was "seriously" behind in its lease payments.

Remy said the century-old building has infrastructure issues, including an aging boiler system.

"We are looking at ways to effectively utilize the building economically and still provide services," Remy said.

Also on Tuesday, City Council:

-- approved a $774,443 proposal to replace the crumbling double-arch bridge at North Lake Park with a new, single-arch span. The sandstone structure crosses the creek just before it flows into the lake at the park on the city's northeast side. The northern section of the wall on the western side of the bridge has completely collapsed and concrete barriers have been placed there for safety.

Jason Lawrence

Mansfield City Council 5th Ward representative Jason Lawrence, chair of the streets and traffic committee, asks questions Tuesday about a plan to replace the aging bridge at North Lake Park.

City engineer Bob Bianchi told council the structure has failed and will have to be replaced or removed. His office has obtained a $500,000 Ohio Public Works grant to help fund the replacement of the 121-year-old bridge, reusing existing sandstone. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2020 and take nine months.

North Lake Park bridge

Mansfield City Council on Tuesday approved the replacement of this 121-year-old crumbling sandstone bridge at North Lake Park. (Richland Source file photo)

-- approved city participation with two Ohio Department of Transportation Projects -- a decorative, protective fence over Trimble Road and also Fifth Aveue as part of the U.S. 30 reconstruction project and resurfacing of Ohio 13 within the city limits. The city will pay $54,419 for the bridge fencing while ODOT will fully fund the resurfacing from Hanley Road to just south of East Raleigh Avenue.

-- approved a $41,280 contract with Mansfield Area Y to again operate the city-owned swimming pool at Liberty Park.

Jean Taddie

Mansfield City Council 6th Ward representative Jean Taddie asks questions about plans to demolish structures in the city in cooperation with the Richland County Land Bank.

-- approved building demolition requests for structures at 91 Rowland Ave., 93-95 S. Franklin St., 105 S. Franklin St., 273 W. Third St., 290 Myers Ave., 303 Newman St., 308 Harker St., 308 Wayne St., 444 Reed St., 573-575 Bowman St. and 665 McPherson St.

-- approved a resolution honoring telecommunicator Suzanne Meister, who recently retired after 31 years with the Mansfield Police Department.

-- approved a $4,389.10 damage claim from Mitchell Kirkbride, 295 W. Gates Drive, whose home was damaged from a sewer backup caused by city work done in the area in November 2019. Council's Claims Committee approved the claim in January.

Jon Van Harlingen

Mansfield City Council 3rd Ward representative Jon Van Harlingen, chair of the finance committee, discusses amending city ordinances requiring council approval for all multi-vendor projects totaling more than $50,000.

-- approved amending city ordinances to require council approval for all multi-vendor projects totaling more than $50,000. Bidding will not be required except if an individual contract exceeds $50,000. The change will also require the city's board of control to approve all multi-vendor projects totaling more than $25,000.

-- heard concerns from Mansfield resident Robert Beatty, 1099 Walker St., about ongoing trash and dumping problems in the city. He said landlords, homeowners and tenants all need to be held accountable.

-- heard a renewed request from Kathleen Boyle for a senior citizens' community center or pavilion at Liberty Park. Boyle said she has seen the city spend money for playground equipment for young people and believes something should be provided for senior citizens on the city's east side.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"