Taggart building to go up for auction

By Virginia Ross

A previous deal for the sale of the property has fallen through.

EAST PALESTINE — The building that housed city hall for close to 10 years is for sale — again.

City officials announced earlier this week the most recent proposal for the purchase of the Captain Taggart Building has fallen through.

Last month the city agreed to sell the property to Robert Luketic Jr. of Rogers for $50,000. City Manager Gary Clark said Luketic did not provide officials with a reason for backing out of the deal.

Instead, the 25,000-square-foot former school building will go up for auction at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 17. The auction is be conducted by Russ Kiko Associates at the building at 82 Garfield Ave.

City officials moved most of the administration offices from the Captain Taggart Building to the former McCamon Insurance Building on North Market Street earlier this month. The new building houses offices for the city manager, clerk of council, mayor and building and zoning inspector. The city nurse’s office has been moved to the Police Department.

Last month council authorized Clark to borrow $53,000 from Huntington Bank to purchase the McCamon building, and the city proceeded to move its operations to the new office building. Officials have said the Captain Taggart Building is too big for the city’s needs.

Citing increasing utility and maintenance costs, officials said they have been looking to move out of the structure for the past few years, but previous attempts to sell the building have also failed.

Most recently the city was looking to put the money generated from the sale of the Captain Taggart Building toward a $105,000 deficit in the city’s 2009 budget. Last month council also agreed to sell the former light plant property to Don and Dianna Elzer of East Palestine for $30,000 and a portion of the Leslie Run Housing Development to generate an additional $30,000. Clark said if the city fails to raise enough money at the auction the city still has the option to sell more of the Leslie Run property.

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