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Richfield trustees agree to join recreation district

6/12/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

Supporters of the Crowell/Hilaka camp convinced the Richfield Township Board of Trustees to join Richfield Village in creating a joint recreation district June 5.

Two days after Richfield Village Council agreed to join the district, the issue came before the trustees. [See related story above.] For the past several weeks, village officials have been in discussion with township officials to create a joint district to look into funding the purchase of Crowell Hilaka, a 336-acre former Girl Scout camp located between Broadview Road and state Route 303.

Trustee Janet Jankura moved to approve the resolution, but neither Trustee Bob Luther nor Trustee Jeff Shupe would second the motion.

“I look at this as a cost item to the township. It’s going to cost our people a lot of money,” Shupe said.

He added the township has only 980 homes and the cost of supporting the purchase of the $4 million property would be too high, even if $1 million of the cost were defrayed through grant money.

“We have plenty of park land now,” said Luther. “This is a chance to put in some taxpaying properties. We took a big hit on losing the Coliseum [taxes]. We should put some high-dollar houses and taxes there. But, first, someone has to buy it.”

Shupe added the township still needs an administration building because it is spending $1,200 in rent monthly to the village for its current offices.

Jankura said Gund Hall on the camp property might be a possibility as an administration building.

Several members of the crowd spent more than an hour asking the trustees to join the recreation district.

“We’re working with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy [WRLC], so we wouldn’t be bearing all of the burden,” said Roger Judson, of Inca Road. “They have been successful in purchasing properties with no deleterious effects on the residents.”

Kelly Clark, of Broadview Road, urged the trustees to approve the resolution.

“You have to allow the constituents who put you into office to vote on it, so they can decide whether to invest in it or not,” Clark said.

Joe Leslie, of the WRLC, told the trustees they would have some input in the joint recreation district by appointing three of the trustees. According to the resolution approved by the village, the joint recreation district would be governed by a five-member board.

Richfield Village Mayor Bobbie Beshara said Village Council voted unanimously in favor of the recreation district.

“Sometimes you have to take a chance, a leap of faith,” she said. “As politicians, we do it all the time. Your residents will respect you.”

Dick Johnson, of Medina Line Road, said the Girl Scout camp has the potential to generate revenue.

“It’s a hidden treasure,” he said. “There are two marvelous lakes on the property. I think you need to pull this together.”

After the discussion, Jankura asked her colleagues to reconsider the resolution, and all three trustees voted in favor of it.

In other business:

  • The trustees agreed to contribute $4,000 to the Bath-Richfield Kiwanis for the Community Day celebration Aug. 10.
  • Police Sgt. Chris Fyffe reported more than 200 fifth-graders graduated from the D.A.R.E. program May 27.
    Sandy Kahoe was named the Ohio D.A.R.E. Association Educator of the Year. The association will honor her in Columbus in August.
  • Fire Chief Jason Mihalek said hydrant flushing will take place in June. He added his department is looking into a possible training house burn in the township, for which the property owner would pay.
  • Zoning Director Laurie Pinney said the concrete crusher on Columbia Road started operation June 9. She added that JJJ Properties has complied with the settlement agreement and must use the concrete on its own property.
    Shupe said a Black Road resident has been concerned about overloaded trucks carrying concrete to the crusher site. The sheriff has been working on the situation, according to Shupe.
  • Township Administrator Mindy Remec said she is working on a program to have Revere High School students volunteer to work on projects for the township.

The next Richfield trustees’ meeting is scheduled for June 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the township offices, located behind the fire station on West Streetsboro Road.

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