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Richfield trustees move forward with plans for new offices

9/12/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

The Richfield Township Board of Trustees agreed Sept. 5 to move ahead with plans to build a new administration building on Boston Mills Road despite receiving a new lease offer for its current offices from Richfield Village.

After the township and village formally separated in 2003, the township leased its current office space, a house located behind the fire station on West Streetsboro Road, from the village. The village leased the building to the township rent free for 10 years.

The two Richfield governments discussed plans to keep the township offices in the current location for years. However, they could not reach an agreement, and, most recently, the township began to make plans to construct a new building near its service garage on Boston Mills Road.

Trustee Laurie Peters Gilmore said she had seen the village’s newest lease proposal earlier in the morning, and she got calls the previous night from Richfield Village Mayor Bobbie Beshara and Council President Rick Hudak about keeping the township offices in the current location.

However, she said the township has already spent money on plans for the new building.

“I’m not interested in stopping our present course of action to start discussions that have not been fruitful for several years,” she said. “We have been working on plans to finance the new building, and though I appreciate the last-minute efforts on the village’s part, I’d like to stay that course.”

Trustee David Wyatt agreed, noting the township already owns the property on Boston Mills Road.

“We’re down the road, and I think we should keep going,” he said.

Trustee Janet Jankura said that if there is any new information in the village’s latest offer to the township regarding the rent and renovation costs, she would be “willing to speak on it.”

Regarding the new building, architect Rodwell King was at the meeting to show the trustees his drawings and to ask for their opinions.

King’s drawings included 1,739 square feet of space on the first floor, with possible additional office space on the second floor. The trustees had a work session to discuss the plans yesterday, Sept. 11.

The trustees approved an additional $2,500 for a site survey on the property, which was not included in the original $18,000 they earmarked for the architectural work.

Township Administrator Linda Bowmer said the township has also received invoices from the village for August and September now that the township’s 10-year rent-free period is over.

Jankura said a property owner near the McDonald’s on Wheatley Road has reduced the price on his previous offer to sell his property to the township. However, Wyatt pointed out that the property is in Richfield Village.

Roger Swan, former village zoning inspector, said he liked having the township offices in the center of town and said the proposed location near the service garage is in “the middle of nowhere.”

Township resident Rich Fleming commended the trustees for wanting their own building instead of having a landlord.

In other news:

  • Police Chief Keith Morgan said University Hospitals’ Ajuha Medical Center will provide meals for the jail inmates and will also take over as the jail’s medical adviser.
  • Fire Chief Jason Mihalek reported hydrant flushing should be completed by Sept. 13. The fire department is also seeking volunteers for CERT (Certified Emergency Response Team), which can assist the community in the event of a disaster. For more information, call 330-659-9400, ext. 304.
  • Zoning Inspector Laurie Pinney welcomed John Galonski, of the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, to the meeting. He was there to discuss zoning matters with the trustees in an executive (closed) session after the regular meeting.
  • Gilmore said the final round of brush chipping for 2013 will take place during the week of Oct. 7.
    She also said the township will accept applications for road service employees through Sept. 16.
  • The trustees also talked with Larry Fulton, of the Summit County Engineer’s Office, about the possibility of locating a new township salt dome at the county’s salt dome location on Boston Mills Road.
    Wyatt said the township’s salt dome, which is also on Boston Mills Road, may only “have one winter left in it.”
  • Jankura talked about the dog park survey, focusing on the paper copies turned in by Richfield Township residents. Of the 139 responders, 80 percent of them have a dog and 78 percent would use a dog park and support the township spending money on it.
    Gilmore said the township currently had its hands full with the office building. She said the dog park would best be addressed next year, when there will be one or two new trustees on the board.

The next regular meeting of the Richfield Township trustees is scheduled for Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the township offices located behind the fire station on West Streetsboro Road.

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