East Liverpool CIC Recommends Ending Agreement with Riverview Buyer

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — The East Liverpool Community Improvement Corp.’s property committee agreed Wednesday to recommend the agency opt out of an existing agreement with a Georgia developer regarding the former Riverview Florist property.

The CIC had forged an agreement last year with John Woomer to redevelop the 85-acre parcel, forming a limited liability corporation with him as companies came in, according to CIC President Patrick Scafide.

According to Scafide after the meeting, the agreement called for a partnership in which the CIC would “have a say in what came in.”

The agreement included a provision for either party to opt out. Scafide said Woomer expressed a desire to do so but now wants to purchase the property outright. This prompted a unanimous vote by the property committee to recommend the full CIC board opt out of the agreement, dissolving the LLC, and pursue a new agreement to sell the land to Woomer, who has offered $500,000.

The city purchased the property for $1.3 million under then-Mayor Jim Swoger, annexing it from Liverpool Township, later transferring it to the CIC for development.

During a recent meeting, the property committee had recommended the offer be discussed further, and planning director Bill Cowan indicated at that time he thought the price should be negotiated. 

Scafide said after Wednesday’s meeting no such financial negotiations have yet taken place. 

“This was probably a tough time to do what he was planning, with the pandemic,” he continued, and said he hopes a new agreement can be reached. 

The property committee also forwarded a recommendation to the full board to use $6,955 in demolition funds to demolish a house at 822 W. Ninth St. at the request of housing inspector Kayla Crowl, who said it “has been all but forgotten by the owner and is so dilapidated that two of the four foundation walls have collapsed.”

Contractor Kevin Kerr presented the quote, also offering a higher bid of $7,200 if the work is not done within a month and a half while his equipment is already in that area of the city.

The other quote received, $7,335.03 was from Stan Cunningham.

A recommendation was forwarded to the full board to earmark $25,000 for a June 15 sheriff’s sale of property at Potters Lane and Sly Alley which is adjacent to other parcels already purchased by the CIC at auction. 

Scafide called this potential purchase “the final piece of the puzzle” in acquiring the properties for future development. 

The full board will meet at 5:15 p.m. June 14 to consider these recommendations. 

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