Resident speaks out against alleged ‘drug house’

Council approves park curfew ordinance

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — A resident came forward during public comment at the Piqua City Commission meeting on Tuesday evening to voice concerns over a house that appears to be a center for criminal activity.

“We have a drug house,” Dave Hitchings of Piqua said.

Hitchings stated the house is on the 800 block of Park Avenue.

He explained that he researched the reported criminal activity at that residence for the last six months and that he found 30 calls to the police involving that house in the Piqua police reports. Hitchings went on to say those 30 calls have involved approximately 72 police officers.

“We’re sick and tired of seeing the police down there,” Hitchings said.

Hitchings also researched the people charged in those 30 reports, saying that 11 of the people who showed up in the reports have been charged a total of more than 160 times since 2009. He said those charges included theft, recieving stolen property, criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, drug possession, breaking and entering, sexual imposition, compelling prostitution, robbery, and more.

“These guys are like career criminals,” Hitchings said.

Hitchings said the problem is that the person who is currently renting the house from the property owner is not living there, claiming there are currently “squatters” residing there. Hitchings added that people in the neighborhood are continually seeing vehicles from Dayton driving up and down an alley near the alleged drug house.

“We’re sick and tired of it,” Hitchings said.

“Let us get the police and law director involved,” commissioner Joe Wilson said.

Wilson said they were not going to be able to solve the issue in one night, but that the commission will be following up on the resident’s concerns.

On the commission’s regular agenda, the commission approved an ordinance making rules and curfew hours within city parks up-to-date and consistent. Residents will not be permitted in city parks between dusk and 7 a.m. unless they are at a sports game at a lighted field.

In regard to new business on the agenda, the commission approved the purchase of a new asphalt milling machine from the McLean Company for the Piqua Public Works Department. The cost will be $236,372. The purpose of the purchase was to replace a machine the city currently rents at a cost of $14,000 per month.

The commission will also held a public hearing Tuesday evening for the purpose of adopting their 2017 tax budget. According to the Piqua Finance Director Cynthia Holtzapple, the total 2017 tax budget is expected to be $163 million, which is an increase of $24 million or 17.3 percent more than other 2016 estimates.

For the last item of business, the commission approved taking ownership of a sanitary sewer lift station located on Echo Lake Drive that is next to city property, i.e, the Echo Hills Golf Course. The current owner donated the lift station to the city for the city to maintain. The owner also granted a perpetual easement to the city for the purpose of accessing that lift station.

Council approves park curfew ordinance

By Sam Wildow

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336