May 24, 2023
UPDATE — Franciscan University’s Community Relations Director Joe Wallace updates council on campus construction and enrollment growth Tuesday. — Linda Harris
STEUBENVILLE — City Council decided Tuesday to partner with Service Line Warranties of America so homeowners can sign up for low-cost insurance for the repair of their external water and sewer lines.
Council voted unanimously to authorize City Manager Jim Mavromatis to enter into a marketing agreement with SLWA to advertise the warranty plan to city residents. Participation is voluntary, they stressed.
SLWA Senior Director of Business Development Ashley Shiwarski told council their regular monthly rate would be $6.75 per month for water line protection and $7.75 per month for sewer line protection. Coverage for in-home plumbing repairs is also available for an additional $9.99 a month, she said.
The plan will pay up to $8,500 per claim for external water or sewer repairs, with no service fee or deductible. All repairs, done by approved contractors, come with a 12-month warranty.
Shiwarski said SLWA is offering a 50 percent discount on water and sewer coverage for the first year.
“Ninety-nine percent of our claims are under $8,500,” Shiwarski said, reiterating to council that coverage “is completely optional for homeowners, (we’re) just educating them about what service line protection is while offering (a service) to them.”
The city will get a commission for each package sold.
“I do like the program, I think it will be beneficial to residents,” Fifth Ward Councilman Willie Paul said. “It’s optional, not mandatory that you buy this. But as I’ve said before … one of my neighbors has a pretty big problem, it’s still ongoing. This would have helped him a lot.”
Shiwarski said introductory letters should go out this summer.
Council also was updated on projects from Joe Wallace, director of community relations at Franciscan University of Steubenville, and Phil Rook, director of the university’s real estate development.
“There’s a lot of construction going on on University Boulevard,” Second Ward Councilman Tracy McManamon said. “We hear a lot that there’s nothing going on in Steubenville, but if you go up you’ll see the St. Paul Center going up on the left side, other things going on up on the right.”
Construction of the new, 110,000-square-foot Christ the Teacher Academic Hall and Conference Center is well underway, Wallace said. Home to the departments of business, engineering and nursing, Christ the Teacher also will provide gathering space for up to 500 and a welcome center for admissions visitors.
“This project itself is going to be over $50 million,” he said. “It’s going to be the centerpiece of the campus going forward.”
Rook said all the construction that’s going on means money is being invested in the community.
“Our goal is to create something the city can be proud of,” he said, telling council they’ve already broken ground. “This has really come together through the help of a couple local donors, Trinity Health System and the Pugliese Foundation,” Rook added. “It’s going to be a great thing for the community.”
The ice rink, in the works for several years, will be ready later this year.
Rook said they’re also preparing to unveil a new tenant at Franciscan Square “pretty soon, it will be exciting for the area.”
He said the developers are also hoping to add office space and condos in the near future and are working “to bring in more retail tenants and restaurants.”
In other business:
— City Engineer Mike Dolak told council work will resume on the traffic signal upgrade Tuesday, with an anticipated completion date no later than September.
“They had a hard time getting materials in, then when they finally came in they were wrong and had to go back,” he said.
— Gave Paul approval to speak with Jefferson County commissioners about the possibility of partnering to build permanent restrooms at Historic Fort Steuben.
Restrooms was on the Harmonium Project’s wish list for continued growth of the popular First Fridays on Fourth and Nutcracker Village events as well as other community gatherings.
“Putting bathrooms over there would help the downtown,” Paul said. “They have concerts and other functions over there. It would be a great thing if we start moving forward.”
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