By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LOVELAND - City officials want to spend about $300,000 to buy a church and its small office building for what some say is a critical fix to a congested downtown intersection.
The sale of the True Holiness Covenant of Peace Assembly's buildings on South Second Street could close sometime in January if a new council approves the measure Dec. 2, City Manager Fred Enderle said.
That would pave the way for improvements two years from now to the five-point intersection at Second and Broadway streets, which serves as the gateway to Miami Township in Clermont County, he said.
The deal discussed at council this week calls for the city to pay the church $284,500 - $25,500 more than Loveland's appraisal - and an additional $15,000 in relocation fees.
The Clermont County auditor's office lists the appraised value of the properties at $192,870. The church bought the sanctuary from the Loveland Community Firefighters Association for $150,000 in 1999, and paid $45,000 for the office building in 1994, records show.
The city is buying the office because it would be useless to the congregation when they moveoutside the city, officials said.
"It's the fair thing to do for the church. We had promised this action," said outgoing Mayor Donna Lajcak.
The sale must be approved by a relatively new council that includes three members who ousted Lajcak and two others in last month's election.
The intersection bogs down each weekday at rush hour and when a nearby school lets out.
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