County asked to join special improvement district

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The Athens County Commissioners have been asked to join the special improvement district that Mayor Steve Patterson is pursuing for uptown Athens.

Patterson met with the commissioners on Tuesday.

The district would be a way of funding such things as benches, hanging flower baskets, sidewalk gum removal, snow removal and sidewalk improvements. Funding would come from assessments on uptown property owners based on their properties’ linear footage of street frontage.

The mayor said he’s talked to at least 90 percent of the property owners in the proposed district and most are supportive.

Patterson said government, church and university properties are exempt, but can opt into the district. Those that do not participate will not receive the benefits of the district.

The annual cost to the county would be $10,230, and overall the district would raise between $230,000 and $240,000 annually, according to the mayor.

Patterson said Ohio University has agreed to participate.

Included in the district would be Court Street (between Carpenter and President Streets), and the side streets between (but not including) College and Congress Streets.

The district would be overseen by a board of property owners, and the city, county and OU would each have a representative on the board.

County Commissioner Chris Chmiel made a motion to opt into the district, but action was postponed after Commissioner Charlie Adkins said he wants more time to consider the proposal.

Patterson said he would like an answer in the next two or three weeks.

Patterson said the next step is to circulate petitions to get the support of property owners representing at least 60 percent of the linear footage in the district. If achieved, it would then go to Athens City Council for action.