Plans to save Garrettsville’s historic feed mill riddled with roadblocks
Garrettsville – Representatives from the James A. Garfield Historical Society and all three Portage County Commissioners, Kathleen Chandler, Maureen Fredrick, Tommie Jo Marsilio, were present at the last regularly scheduled Village Council meeting held April 10, to present their ideas on the old Paul’s Feed Mill building at the east end of downtown and elicit cooperation and support from Village Council.
James Mayer of the historical society gave a brief history of the 1852 structure and of its importance to the village. He also stated that though the historical society hoped to save the original structure, they had yet to develop a clear-cut plan of how to do so. He presented a rough sketch of what the property could be transformed into. The plan showed the front building at the intersection of Main and Center Streets, and a parking area with a scenic overlook behind the structure where currently buildings two and three of the feed mill are located. Mr. Mayer went on to say that they had just begun to look into grants to finance the project. Many of them required some sort of matching funds and or needed to be submitted by a government agency. He asked for a formal commitment from council to support the society’s endeavor. He also asked for financial support if council was able to provide it. Mayer stated that in addition to funding issues, the current owner of the property intends to have the building razed by June 10, 2013.
Last year, Martin Paul, the principal owner of the company that owns the feed mill had addressed the commissioners asking for grant money to tear down the structure. The request was denied. In the meantime, the structure has further deteriorated, making it a hazard and an eyesore. County Commissioner Kathleen Chandler stated that the commissioners are currently considering loaning money from the county’s revolving loan fund for the purpose of demolition. Commissioner Chandler further stated that she hoped the village would consider participating by offering money from the village’s revolving loan fund as well. According to the terms of the village’s revolving loan fund, any applicant must be current with all taxes on the property using the funds. There is a $17,000 tax delinquency on the property in question so council would have to amend the current terms of the fund to accommodate the request.
After a very lengthy, heated and obfuscated discussion, council agreed that if the project could get launched to save the feed mill structure, they would consider installing sidewalks, curbing and driveway aprons as an ‘in-kind donation’ for the purpose of grants requiring matching funds. Council however declined to put forth legislation to change the current terms of the village’s revolving loan fund.
Next up for business Mayor Rick Patrick presented resident and former Finance Committee, Audit Committee, and Planning Commission member Gretchen Cram with a plaque commending her for her years of service to the village.
Next, discussion ensued about amending the Urban Renewal Plan to permit business owner Mike Maschek to sell the former Irwin Hardware building prior to the ten-year commitment of ownership he originally agreed to and as stated in Ordinance 2011-60. Mr. Maschek said he had a potential buyer who wanted to invest and restore more of the upstairs areas of the old Buckeye Block building. After some discussion, council decided to table the issue until next month.
In other business, Council passed Resolution 2013-12, authorizing the mayor and clerk to enter into an agreement with the Village of Windham Police Department for the provision of dispatching services. Council also approved several other ordinances relating to clarifications in the village’s employee handbook, relating to compensation and benefits. Council approved Resolution 2013-18 to enter into a co-operative purchasing program for rock salt for the next winter season.
During round-table discussion, Councilman and Sidewalk Committee Chairman Klamer asked for a motion from council to accept his recommendations for sidewalk projects for 2013. Klamer stated all the estimated cost fall below the ceiling for bids. He also stated final letters to residents had been sent. If they do not respond, procedure will be followed to attach unrecovered costs to their property taxes. A motion was made to accept the recommendations and passed unanimously.
Mayor Patrick presented council with the bids for a new police cruiser. There were four bids, on four different vehicles offered from both Charles Auto Family and Kepich Ford: a Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Caprice, Ford Interceptor, and Ford Interceptor Utility Vehicle. There was little difference in cost between all the vehicles and the bids included all the necessary equipment. After a brief discussion, council unanimously voted to purchase the Tahoe.
Mayor Patrick also informed council that there was a price increase from the estimate obtained last year to update the electrical service at the east end of town. Council approved the overage.
If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community, please attend a meeting. The next regular Village Council meeting will be held on May 8th at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.