MAYVILLE — From 1947 to 2019, a diner sat on West Chautauqua Street in Mayville. Village officials hope some sort of business will return there in the future.
On Dec. 9, 2019, the Mayville Diner was destroyed in a fire. Owner Michael Ellis was arrested and later pleaded guilty to fourth-degree arson.
A large and dangerous mess remained.
Nine months later, the Mayville Village Board agreed to have the property cleaned up, using taxpayer dollars. Trustees said they would put a lien on the property, so they would get their money back should Ellis or property owner Bob Bonar try to reopen a business there. Bonar held the mortgage for the property which Ellis was buying before the fire.
The clean-up cost ended up being nearly $15,000.
Bonar chose to let the property go to taxes and the county ended up taking possession of it.
The property was to be placed in a tax auction, however village officials requested they be able to buy it so they could recoup their money for the cleanup and for what they would have to spend to buy the land.
On Thursday, Judge Grace Hanlon ordered Ellis pay the village $14,985 to cover the clean up. He has to pay it over the next five years, while he is on probation.
Meanwhile, the village was permitted to purchase the property. Village Treasurer Jennifer Obert said Thursday a final price of the property has not been determined.
Todd Thomas, assistant county attorney, said he couldn’t give a price either. “The Legislature’s Resolution setting out the tax foreclosed property policy has variations depending on the anticipated use and we are talking to the Village’s counsel about that issue currently,” he said in an email.
Mayor Ken Shearer said the village would like to close on the property in October. They’ve been working on this for several months. “At the time when we first decided to claim it, the plan was to sell it and get it back on the tax rolls,” he said.
Shearer said he is glad the judge is requiring Ellis to pay back the village for the clean-up costs. “Although no judge’s decision can bring back our beloved diner that we all miss so much, as mayor I am hopeful that this money will get paid back in full to the village of Mayville residents that paid that money to clean up the extraordinary mess that was left behind,” he said.
Village officials have not said what type of business they hope will come to the property, just that they want to see it be a tax-paying entity.