SOUTH RUSSELL — Council members are considering the fate of the village’s rental house on Chillicothe Road (Route 306) that has been vacant since renters recently moved out.

Council has two estimates for demolition and agreed on Oct. 28 to seek a third quote for the house on the west side of the highway next to the village cemetery, Councilman Mark Porter said.

Quotes so far are in the range of $11,000, officials said.

If the house on 2 acres of land is demolished, Councilman Ray Schloss said, the village should keep the property. The land could be used for expanding the village campus, he noted.

The house was built by the Wilbur family in 1949, and the owner sold apples from the orchard on site.

The village purchased the 1,150-square-foot house with 4 acres in 2002. The village did a lot of renovation to the house before renting it, Mayor Bill Koons said. The property was purchased to prevent an office complex at the site, he said, with plans calling for a 345,000-square-foot development. Part of the property was developed for the village cemetery.

Between 2015 and 2019, the renter paid $1,250 monthly. The renter paid the electric and gas bills and installed a ramp to the front door.

The village installed a hot water tank and gutters in 2018 at a cost of $2,295. Annually, the village also paid for the sewer charges, taxes, insurance, lawn care and miscellaneous costs, according to Mayor Koons.

Police Chief Mike Rizzo did an inventory of the property left in the house and much of it has been sold on GovDeals. There are some things left that will be given to charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity’s Restore.

Mayor Koons said he prefers to continue to rent the house and keep the land. In the last three years, the village brought in over $50,000 of rent, and a profit was made in the past three years.

“It’s a good money maker, and it is low maintenance,” he said; however, currently it is in poor condition and must be cleaned up.

Although the village was making money on the rental and did pay for the taxes, Mr. Porter said he favors razing the house.

Councilman Gerald Canton said they are looking at options, including winterizing it, fixing the house up, selling it or demolishing it and keeping the property. Most of council wants to get out of the rental business, he noted.

“I’m leaning toward taking down the house and keeping the property,” he said. “The land “could be needed by the village in the future.”

Councilman Mike Carroll said they don’t want to sit on it too long because winterizing and heating the house would be costly to the village.

The headache of managing the house isn’t worth it, Mr. Carroll said.

Councilman Dennis Galicki said the land itself could be used for a variety of purposes in the future, including expanding green space or a municipal center.

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