By Ed Runyan
Warren City Council moved a step closer to completing the $2.5 million purchase of the Gibson Building on Tuesday.
Council gave a second reading to the ordinance at a special meeting Tuesday, despite a full-page advertisement taken out in a local newspaper questioning the purchase.
This leaves the door open for council to give final reading and approval to buying it at tonight’s regular meeting.
At a finance committee meeting earlier Tuesday, Mayor Doug Franklin addressed the full-page ad purchased by Sergio DiPaolo of Girard, in which DiPaolo says the city would be wiser to buy his building on Dana Street Northeast.
DiPaolo showed city officials an artist’s rendering a year ago of how the former Delphi administration building could look if the city would invest money in relocating most of its offices there at a cost of $9.5 million.
Since then, DiPaolo said Tuesday, he has revised his plans and would pare back the project in order to bring the cost down to $4.3 million.
The ad questions why the city would spend $2.5 million to buy the Gibson Building on East Market Street, additional money to upgrade it, and $4 million to renovate existing buildings when it could relocate those offices to Dana Street for $4.3 million.
“It’s your money,” the ad says, adding that Warren residents should flood council members’ phones and fill city council chambers Tuesday to urge officials to look at his proposal. Only a handful of citizens attended.
Franklin said DiPaolo only paid about $80,000 for the former Delphi complex and suggested it has an array of problems that the city doesn’t want to inherit.
“I would like him to fix up the property and give us a call,” Franklin said, instead of asking the city to spend its money to upgrade it. “It’s a misinformation campaign,”
Franklin said of the ad. “I challenge him to hold an open house.”