Private Ownership Plan Is Appealing

Members of a special panel that has looked into city ownership of property in Wheeling are right: Some method of restoring many of the buildings and much of the land in question to private ownership should be found.

Mayor Andy McKenzie formed the committee earlier this year, to look into preservation of historic buildings. Members of the panel found the city owns at least 290 properties.

Wheeling Historic Landmarks Commission member C.J. Kaiser, who served on the mayor’s panel, said a plan for the city to divest itself of some of the property will be presented to City Council.

One idea is for the properties to be sold, perhaps for as little as $1 each, by the Ohio Valley Area Development Corp. Buyers would be required to present plans for renovation of buildings.

Buildings and land not being used by the city should be restored to private ownership, of course. Doing so in an equitable manner probably will not be easy. Still, the committee is right, and council should consider its recommendations carefully.