STRUTHERS Officials to inspect complex

The owner said she has sought public funds to clean up her building.
STRUTHERS -- A Mahoning County building inspector and a private inspector were to assist Struthers officials in an inspection of the Spring Street Apartments today, Mayor Dan Mamula said.
He said suggestions are false that city officials ignored building conditions there because complex owner Kim Stocker was previously married to Councilman Terry Stocker, D-4th.
The suggestions, however, prompted the inspection, he added.
In the meantime, Mamula wants to set the record straight concerning the apartments.
He said rumors that the apartments were condemned or must be condemned are false.
A garage and an apartment unit there were condemned and torn down last year although the rubble still remains. The complex, which sits on a street of mostly well-maintained homes, has drawn the ire of some neighbors who have called for its removal.
Procedure: Even if the city was able or willing to condemn the apartments, Mamula said, the building owner still has the opportunity to correct any problems before demolition can proceed.
"It's the ultimate punishment for property," he said, citing that a building must pose a serious threat to public health, safety or be beyond basic building standards before it can be condemned.
If the building was condemned, the city would be financially responsible to relocate residents to adequate housing and pay for the rent difference over a five-year period, Mamula said. The city also would be obligated to replace the amount of low-income units it demolished.
From the outside, the building looks in need of a paint job and some garbage removal.
Owner cited: Kim Stocker has been cited for the mess and pleaded innocent to debris, building and occupancy violations. Her trial is set for 10:45 a.m. July 23 in Struthers Municipal Court.
In a letter to The Vindicator, Stocker said she has sought government funds for three years to help rehabilitate her building but found none available.
Besides cosmetic problems, neighbors have complained about crime there.
Since the beginning of the year, police received 26 calls for service to the apartments for everything from 911 hang-ups to domestic disputes to loud music. Police documented one fight and one negligent assault.
The mayor said the amount of calls has not been excessive and most were typical calls received in any neighborhood.

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