Village Newsletter, July 2022
Check out this month's edition of The Village News below, or click here to download and read this and past editions.
Final touches before tomorrow's big day! Please come out and join us on June 29. The Sherman Ricketts Park and Trailhead dedication is starting at 2:50 pm. Bring your lawn chair. And then the Put A Lid On It event starts at 4-7 pm. Bring your bikes to ride on the trail. The Pig in a Pickle Food Truck will be the Park from 4:00-7:00 PM along with The Traveling Brew. Get your Pig Trough and your favorite Iced Coffee to enjoy at the event!
If you see Rowe and Jordan Griffith, please ask for their autographs. These young guys rode on the trail yesterday and got fitted for helmets by Cindee Boyd for our press release. Thank you Jayne Griffith for volunteering your grandsons.
Marshal Sherman Ricketts, who gave his life to protect the residents of the village in the early morning on June 29, 1962, will be honored on June 29th with multiple events planned for that day. Marshal Ricketts was investigating a break-in in the northwestern part of the village around Baird - Reynolds - Columbus Streets. He confronted the suspect who fired numerous rounds at point blank range to fatally wound the Marshal. The Marshal, while suffering fatal injuries, shot the suspect twice to prevent him from fleeing.
The village of West Liberty will honor Marshal Sherman Ricketts on June 29th with the following:
At 3:30 am there will be a vigil in front of the West Liberty Presbyterian Church at the spot where the Marshal gave his life in the line of duty.
A park was dedicated last May 2021 for the Marshal and this year the amenities (shelter house, water bottle filling station, and bicycle fix-it station) of the park will be dedicated with a ceremony remembering the slain officer starting with a procession of Law Enforcement starting at the West Liberty Police Department at 2 pm and continuing west on Runkle Street to the Sherman Ricketts Memorial Park.
The program at the park will start at 2:50 pm with the West Liberty United Church of Christ Reverend Debby Stinton offering the Invocation. The Logan County Honor Guard will have a presentation of the flag to the grandchildren of Marshal Ricketts, the Rifle Squad will present a 21 gun salute and playing of Taps. The guest speakers for the event will share stories of the Marshal and West Liberty Presbyterian Pastor Keith Landis will close with the Benediction. The public is invited to attend and encouraged to bring a lawn chair.
The Sherman Ricketts Memorial Park and Trailhead is located on west 245. Law enforcement parking will be provided on Bradley Street. Public parking will be across 245 at King Feed or at our Village garage across Sidney Street in the grassy areas. Sidney Street will be closed from the Recycling Center to 245 in order to set up all the activities planned for that day.
The “Put A Lid On It” Campaign, a program to encourage children to wear helmets while riding bikes. This event will run from 4 pm to 7 pm on June 29. The Mary Rutan Foundation will fit children for bicycle helmets until the helmets are all gone. We have 104 helmets to give away donated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Department of Transportation, Honda, and the Mary Rutan Foundation. Helmets are for any children who come to the event. Children are encouraged to ride the Simon Kenton Bike Trail with WL bicycle police to learn about bike riding safety.
Come to West Liberty this Saturday, June 25!!!! So much is going on you can spend the day and night with us!
The West Liberty Lions Club pancake breakfast is from 7-11 am at the Lions Park concession stand.
In the downtown area we have lots going on from 10 am - 8 pm. We have closed off East Columbus Street for a car show (expecting 25-30 cars and motorcycles; Best of Show 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place; dash plaques will be given to all cars, motorcycles, and quarter midget entries registered before Saturday; Awards will be presented at 5 pm), Street vendors (lots of crafts), multiple food trucks and live music provided by Nova (performing 11-3 pm) AND J.R. Hunter and Crossfire performing (4-8 pm). The shops will have extended hours as well. The first 150 people who stop by the tent at Town Hall will receive a West Liberty swag bag with lots of goodies from our local businesses. The West Liberty Splash Pad kids shirts AND the West Liberty Mural shirts will be for sale as well on the lawn of the Town Hall.
The Lions Club Fish Fry will be held from 5-7 pm at the main shelter house and the Fireworks at dusk!!!
The Splash Pad will be open from 9 am -9 pm. This is free and open to the public.
There is a 21-team fastpitch softball tournament at Lions Park all day and 32-team baseball tournaments at Dodge Park and Kingscreek Community Park.
It’s a great day to spend in the village of West Liberty!
The West Liberty Street Market is sponsored by Malia Hughes Realtor- Fathom Realty AND the West Liberty Business Association.
Old elementary school Update
For many, many years there has been concern over the state of disrepair of the old elementary school on West Columbus Street. Through the years the village has dealt with break ins to this building by adventurous teens/kids who took a chance in being injured in the building. In the past ten or so years we have found the roof to be caved in which in turn has caused internal structural damage. Windows have been broken and not repaired and the list of problems continues.
The village has attempted for many years to contact the owners to repair these zoning violations but was unable to reach them until just recently. When the village found the numerous doors unsecure, we spent money to secure them
to keep out any individuals but found them broken into a few weeks later.
Just this week (June 1, 2022) we have paid to have the building secured again. If you have been in that neighborhood in the past years, you would find numerous wildlife living in the structure and buzzards flying overhead. The raccoons have become a nuisance to this part of the village. This is a safety concern not just to those neighbors but also to the children playing baseball or on the playground equipment at Dodge Park.
The Logan County Health Department in a report from May 11, 2022 stated the following in their report, “being vacant and dilapidated with holes in the structure, especially the roof, and being unsecured and an animal harborage, constitutes a public health nuisance. Therefore, the structure has been condemned and is to be placarded as such for being uninhabitable.”
After considering all of this, the village has filed paperwork with the state of Ohio to take the building down. There is asbestos, lead paint, mold, etc. that must be addressed to remove it safely. We are working with the Logan County Land Bank to minimize the cost to the village.
This neighborhood deserves better from the village officials and so action must be taken. We are hoping to save many of the large blocks of stone to create a memory of the old elementary school. I have included pictures with this post so that you may see the inside conditions of this structure.
In January and February the Clerk and I were in a conversation with a developer from Columbus who had wished to purchase and rehab both schools. Unfortunately the more the developers looked at the structures they found them unsuitable for any profitable gain and the cost to restore prohibitive to what their plans were. So the developers walked away from the project. The properties have been vacant for more than 20 years. The water and electricity have not been on since 1995 according to our records.
The Village Council has been in discussion about what the anticipated use would be. Nothing has been decided yet as we are working through some issues.
I felt the community needed to know the facts and I too am very sad that we have no options. The elementary is filled with garbage, trash, and junk in every room. And this has increased the cost for taking down the building by $19,000. Before the narrative report from Chief Oelker, I was brainstorming some ideas on how to save it. But his report stated the fourth and third floors have collapsed and much of the floors are very unsafe with other structural concerns as well. I have spoken with Chief Leach and he also voiced many concerns about the safety of the building. The pictures from the inside show the damage caused by animals and the elements. Please know this was not an easy decision but we cannot continue to let this dilapidated structure negatively impact the safety and property value of this area of the village.
The good news for this area of the village is that we will be receiving an OPWC small government grant to pay for paving West Columbus Street from Reynolds Street to the bridge. The first phase of this project was paved from Detroit Street to Reynolds in 2010 with work beginning in 2011. So this new grant will allow us to save the rest of West Columbus which receives a lot of traffic with baseball players and their families traveling to and from games, practices, and tournaments all spring and summer. With the LEI turf field and the work to keep this park in great shape, Dodge Park is another great asset for our community. With the work to eventually reopen the bridge continuing, the hope is to revitalize this area of West Liberty.
Village of West Liberty Updates
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