Family and city at odds over nuisance building in Girard

Local News

GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – A building in downtown Girard, which was declared a public health nuisance by the Trumbull County Combined Health District, will remain standing, at least for now.

Attorneys for the city and the building’s owners met with a magistrate in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Friday. A temporary restraining order barring the city from demolishing the building on 25 W. Liberty Street has been extended another 90 days.

“We know that the basement is deficient. We know the roof is deficient, we can see that by looking into the building from the street,” said Mayor Jim Melfi.

Melfi wants the building gone, but owners Dan, Robert, John and James Penza aren’t letting it go without a fight.

“The citizens of our city have suffered for decades with the management of this particular building but also others owned by these family members,” Melfi said.

Attorney Jeff Goodman, who is representing the Penzas, said he is optimistic that they will be able to save the property.

The Trumbull County Combined Health District declared the building “unfit for human habitation” and a danger to life and health back in February. But according to court records, the Penzas claim only one of the owners was sent a letter about it, and they weren’t given enough notice to take steps towards fixing it.

A week ago, the court granted the Penzas a temporary restraining order halting the building’s demolition. Attorneys on both sides agreed to extend it through January.

“During that interim, myself and my clients will be working with the city of Girard and bringing this matter to a resolution, and I think it’s going to end up being a win-win for everyone,” Goodman said.

Melfi said they will come back and determine if the improvements are made and if not, they will be back in court.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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