The police chief says the purchase eliminates a 'headache' for the village.
By STEPHANIE UJHELYI
SEBRING -- No, the municipality of Sebring isn't going into the nightclub business.
Municipal Manager Teddy Ryan prefers instead to call the village's purchase of the Stingray Nite Club, 195 N. 15th St., "urban revitalization."
At its meeting Monday, Sebring council voted 5-1 to buy the nightclub, equipment, ongoing business interest, Ohio D-5 liquor license and some adjoining lots for $72,000. The property had been appraised at $75,000. The city was the highest bidder during a recent auction.
Councilman Bob Crewson cast the dissenting vote, saying he wasn't convinced the municipality should have spent money on the Stingray. He said it just didn't feel right.
Supporters of the purchase said the deal would eliminate a potential trouble spot in town and, they believed, help reduce substance abuse.
Alcohol abuse: Councilwoman Dawn Postiy, who used to be an emergency medical technician, said one of her first calls was to the Stingray, where she found a drunken stabbing victim. She said that she doesn't have a problem with "a few drinks and dancing" but that substance abuse leads to trouble.
Postiy said that when she was director of the after-school homework program in Sebring, some children would plead with officials not to send them home to drunken parents. "I have seen parents of our kids stumble out of downtown taverns, and that concerns me."
Sebring Police Chief Ray Heverly said he thought the purchase of the Stingray would eliminate a headache for the community.
Future to be determined: Ryan described the purchase as a good investment that would improve property values and enhance the economic viability of the downtown area if restored.
Ryan said the building has to be further evaluated to determine what work needs to be done in it.
Postiy said that she would like to see this property become a restaurant, either a sit-down restaurant that serves steaks and spirits or a fast-food place. "But if that cannot happen, I'll vote to make a parking lot to protect our community's interests," she said.