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Cleaning Up Site At 19th and Jacob

Plans by Wheeling officials to acquire the old Ohio Valley Medical Center property and use part of it for a new police and fire department headquarters appear to put the lid on a very bad idea.

For months, city officials had talked of buying a 2.8-acre tract at the corner of 19th and Jacob streets, and building the police/fire facility there. It was a terrible idea, as we have emphasized. The suggested purchase price was too high, for one thing.

In addition, an analysis of the ground and old buildings at the site found “recognized environmental conditions.”

One talking point some used in favor of the proposal was that it would clean up a downtown eyesore and remediate environmental problems there.

That improvement still needs to occur.

The property is owned by Americo Inc., which is controlled by Frank Calabrese. Had the city gone ahead and bought the land and buildings, it would have been doing him an enormous favor by taking a headache off his hands, presumably at a profit.

Now, however, city officials must ensure the land and buildings meet city codes. If not, Calabrese should be instructed to bring them into compliance — as should all owners of out-of-code properties in Wheeling.

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