LIMA — After hearing from several advocates for a housing development in downtown, Lima councilors gave the thumbs up on the first reading of an ordinance to sell land to a Cuyahoga Falls developer at Tuesday’s meeting.
The council approved the sale of land located at South Union and East Elm streets to Testa Enterprises Inc. to build a $7.5 million apartment complex at a price of $39,700. Trisha Smith, who has been a client of Coleman Services, spoke of the success of Coleman’s programs. Coleman will partner with Testa to provide people housing at the complex.
“I am 29 and have two children,” Smith said. “They provided me with a clean environment and made it affordable for me to live. They have helped me maintain my housing and my medications.”
Smith said she had suffered from domestic violence, drug use, and other issues, and that programs administered by Coleman helped people get out of the cycle.
“Hopefully a lot of people that weren’t on board with it will get on board with it later,” Councilman Derry Glenn said. “I live right beside Coleman and I have never had any problems. It is a great project for mental health.”
The complex will provide housing for people with physical disabilities and those with severe and persistent mental disorders.
Despite two “no” votes, the second reading of an ordinance creating a new position was approved by a 6-2 vote by the council.
The ordinance will create a new, part-time position to enforce junk vehicle codes within the city limits. Mayor David Berger will be authorized to hire an officer not to exceed $5,702 every 12-week period through temporary hiring agency Spherion Inc., which is where the objections from the two “no” votes are coming from.
“I think we need to hire our own help and not go through a temporary service,” Councilman Jesse Lowe II said. “Within the [Lima Police Department], I think we can find an officer to move over and do that full time.”
Lowe added that in his entire time as a councilor, he had not fielded one complaint involving junk vehicles. He said the city had other priorities.
Glenn also said he was for cleaning up properties, but that he agreed with Lowe that there were higher priorities.
“There are other issues that need to be addressed that we never seem to have money for,” Glenn said. “We need to sit and discuss this and find better ways to do it and save money.”