Girard council to proceed with Wellman Theater evaluation

GIRARD — City officials plan to have MS Consultants evaluate the status of the Wellman Theater building to see what work needs to be done and costs involved to get it up to code,

City council members on Monday said American Rescue Plan funds are available along with 3% of the speed camera funds that can be used for the theater project.

Auditor Julie Coggins said the ARP funds need to be used by the city by the end of 2026. There is $150,000 in ARP funds available.

Councilwoman-at-Large Lily Martuccio said plans need to be in place for what officials would like to see done. Councilman-at-Large John Moliterno said he would like to have a sign placed at the theater letting the public know the city plans to do work on the building.

“The theater is the property of the city. We want the public to know we have some idea to improve the building,” Moliterno said. “We all know the theater will need work done. We want to have a plan in place on how to start this process. There are funds available.”

Mayor Mark Zuppo said he will meet at 2 p.m. May 30 with KO Consulting, a grant-writing firm, and also another nonprofit to help the city secure any possible grants for the project.

Zuppo said the city building inspector checked the theater and found it to be “structurally sound.”

He said having a plan in place will make it easier to obtain grants.

Zuppo said he does not want to use any tax money for theater restoration.

Martuccio said MS Consultants also can check the asbestos situation of the theater.

Fourth Ward Councilman Thomas Grumley said no matter what work needs to be done, it will not be an overnight project since asbestos removal will be an issue.


In other business, Law Director Brian Kren said Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Andrew Logan ruled Friday in the city’s favor to dismiss a complaint about traffic signs left posted by the Ohio Department of Transportation on Interstate 80 after a project was completed and people receiving speed camera tickets for not following that posted speed.

The judge ruled a posted speed limit is the speed limit to follow. Kren said there is a 30-day period for an appeal.

The case was originally filed by attorney Mark Dann in 2018.

Also, Zuppo said he was disappointed the city did not receive any Appalachian Regional Commission funding for the Ohio Leatherworks property or other projects. He said Niles and other neighboring communities will receive ARC funds.

“We will be letting the governor’s office know how we feel and that we are not happy about this,” Zuppo said.

City officials plan to meet with officials at Eastgate Regional Council of Governments on why Girard was left out of ARC funding.

Have an interesting story? Contact Bob Coupland by email at bcoupland@tribtoday.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.


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