Last updated: December 13. 2013 2:46PM - 723 Views
By William Duffield Staff writer

Brent Merriman
Brent Merriman
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XENIA — Xenia City Manager Jim Percival is on the job until his official last day of Jan. 31, but the position won’t go empty. During Thursday’s city council meeting, Brent Merriman was named as Percival’s replacement.

“We normally don’t come into a meeting and tell what we had been discussing in executive session,” council president Mike Engle said. “But this is the perfect time to announce that Brent Merriman will be the new city manager.”

Merriman has been serving as Xenia’s assistant city manager. He will become city manager Feb. 1.

“I would say I have big shoes to fill, but they’re actually boots,” Merriman said in reference to his current boss’ penchant to wear boots.

Council passed several ordinances and resolutions as emergencies during Thursday’s meeting.

The council approved the use of a grant from the Bureau of Workman’s Compensation to purchase four Power Load Systems cots for the city’s EMS units.

“I’m for this because over the past several years, we’ve had firefighters and EMTs have back injuries from lifting 400- or 500-pound people,” councilman Dale Louderback said. “This is a step in the right direction.”

The four cots, which will put one in each of the city’s four squads will cost approximately $83,000.

Council also heard the second reading on an ordinance to rezone 2.98 acres at 2380 Bellbrook Avenue from O-1 Office to B-1 Convenience Shopping Business.

The building concerned was originally the Xenia skating rink before housing Xenia Christian School and a school of holistic health. The current owner, Dan Wilson, would like to lease portions of the building as something other than office space.

“This building has a lot of potential,” Wilson said. “But, unfortunately, it’s not paying any bills right now. If it were zoned similar to the other businesses along Bellbrook (Avenue) I believe it would be be profitable.”

Homeowners and residents from across Berkshire, the street that runs beside the property, had asked the zoning change be voted down because of detrimental changes to the neighborhood.

Members of council stated they had researched the property and all backed the zoning change.

“This is important to the community,” council woman Jeanne Mills said. “(I feel) the business opportunity there isn’t something to disrupt the neighborhood or brings in crime.”

“It’s a positive move for the city.”

Council vice president Wes Smith said any business that can come into town is good.

“Empty buildings are not good for the city,” he said.

Smith added that businesses eligible to be located in a B-1 district include grocery, pharmacies and fitness centers. “This would not allow for a business where people build things for sale.”

Also during the meeting, Makayla Poplin received the Girls Scouts Bronze Cross lifesaving award from the Girl Scouts of America and a proclamation from the City of Xenia.

Contact William Duffield at bduffield@civitasmedia.com or 372-4444 ext. 133.

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