FUS opposes liquor sale plan

STEUBENVILLE – An attorney representing Franciscan University of Steubenville told City Council Tuesday night the school will oppose a liquor permit for the University Boulevard BP gas station and convenience store.

Adam Scurti, vice president of human resources and legal counsel for the university, wrote a letter to the council members on May 23 saying the store is approximately 100 to 200 feet from the Padua Hall student housing complex, “and it is totally inappropriate to issue a liquor license in the close proximity to the university students.”

Kristopher Haught, an attorney representing Ahmed Alwishah, appeared before City Council two weeks ago to ask for consideration from the legislative body for sponsoring his client’s request for an economic development project at the University Boulevard BP gas station.

“Mr. Alwishah has been operating that station since March and would like to sell wine and beer at the store. He believes it will benefit him as well as the city. He will still have to go through the normal application process with the Ohio Liquor Control Board,” explained Haught.

“He currently operates a gas station in Hancock County and another gas station in Weirton and is a responsible business owner,” added Haught.

Council voted unanimously last month to oppose a request from the Ohio Department of Liquor Control for a transfer exempt permit application for an economic development project from Joe Wayne Bush in Middletown, Ohio, to the University Boulevard Express.

“A liquor license at that location is not in the best interests of the students and we don’t believe this is a legitimate justification for a license. The university opposes any liquor permit at this location,” Scurti added.

In other business during the regular council meeting, 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins announced the city will accept applications for tree memorials to be planted this fall at Belleview and Jim Wood parks.

“The cost of a tree, the wooden stake and a plastic plaque designating the memorial is $215. Interested persons can contact Council Clerk Pam Orlando at (740) 283-6000, extension 2100,” explained Perkins.

“We need about eight trees at Belleview Park and eight trees at Jim Wood Park to complete the tree planting campaign,” added Perkins.

Sixth Ward Councilman David Lalich said the annual “You Always Have a Home in Steubenville” T-shirt distribution to Steubenville High School and Steubenville Catholic Central High School graduating seniors was completed last week, “and everyone was excited about their shirts.”

“I want to thank everyone who donated to the T-shirt campaign, and I sincerely hope this continues in the future,” said Lalich.

Council heard the second reading for an ordinance rezoning the former synagogue on Lovers Lane that is being converted into a senior citizen center by Tri-State Health Services.

A public hearing on the rezoning request will be heard at 7 p.m. Monday at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. The council will vote a third and final time at the June 18 council meeting.

Council also approved a resolution commending the Catholic Central High School sports program for winning three championships during the past five years.

Also approved Tuesday night was a resolution amending the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 228 pension plan and an ordinance amending the employee table of organization to add a third community service facilitator position to the municipal court.

Mayor and Acting City Manager Domenick Mucci announced the paving bid for the University Boulevard and Brady Avenue project to Shelly & Sands Inc. of Rayland for $869,450.10.

“The project will start in mid July and the completion date is Oct. 31. The project is funded 80 percent with federal dollars, 17 percent from the Ohio Public Works Commission and the remaining 3 percent from local funds,” said Mucci.

Mucci requested council’s utility committee meet for 20 minutes Tuesday to discuss the fiber optic installation in the city, and he thanked the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2015 for agreeing to allow the Jefferson County Community Action Council summer youth workers to perform jobs in the city this year.

“We have asked for 22 workers this summer. The CAC anticipates hiring 92 to 95 summer youth workers and they have more than 130 requests submitted for summer youth workers,” said Mucci.

He indicated one of the summer youth workers will be trained to work at the City Hall reception desk.

Finance Director Alyssa Kerker announced the summer food program will start soon at eight sites in the city, including the Harding Fieldhouse, Steubenville High School, Finley United Methodist Church, the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, Simpson Church, Jim Wood Park, Murphy Field and East Garfield Elementary School.

Street and Sanitation Superintendent Bob Baird said the Jim Wood Park splash pad is now operating from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs said Urban Mission Ministries will kick off its summer youth wellness program from noon to 4 p.m. Friday at the MLK Center.

“Any youth looking for activities are invited to come to the MLK Center to find out about this summer program,” Suggs said.

And Councilman at large Kenny Davis accepted a $3,100 check from the quarter auction organized by the East Elementary students, staff and parents to raise funds for the Save the Pool campaign.

Davis said the pool is tentatively set to open Saturday.