Nelson Twp. – Residents and spectators packed the Nelson Community House on Wednesday, October 1st for the first trustee meeting of the month, and open forum for those wishing to make their opinions about the Nelson Quarry Park known. All trustees and officials were present and accounted for. Also in attendance was Portage County Sheriff David Doak, and township legal counsel Christopher Meduri.
Dave Finney presented the board of trustees with the minutes from the previous meeting. The minutes were approved as presented in a motion made by Matota and seconded by Elias. The trustees were also provided with documentation for bills and wages totaling $94,811.83. Finney informed the trustees that the Board of Elections has informed the township that a polling place must be made available November 4th. The long-awaited warranty for the salt barn was also received. Elias made a motion to pay the bills and wages as presented, seconded by Leonard. Discussion followed regarding contracted work on the chip and seal projects. Matota indicated that he has no problem paying the contractor, but wanted to make sure it was documented that some of their work was less than professional. Elias will work with Vanek to draft a letter to send to the contractor.
Cmunt reported that a resident wanted to be able to sell merchandise out of the Community House. Finney mentioned that he believes there is a commercial rental rate, and that the Community House could be rented if they are willing to pay the rate. Finney will follow up with Cmunt.
Leonard reported that Route 88 is scheduled to reopen October 2nd, and that the old salt barn will be used by the fire department for training purposes. The structure will eventually be demolished after a demolition permit must be applied for, and asbestos inspection is performed.
Chris Sanchez of Community EMS, spoke briefly about the upcoming renewal levy for the EMS District. The issue on the ballot is NOT a new tax, it is a renewal that would continue the existing levy at the existing rate.
Kicking off the discussion about the Quarry Park, Leonard read through the various calls received by emergency services/law enforcement. These calls include: Submerged Vehicles; Assault; Traffiking; Fraud; Theft; Unruly Persons; Trespassing; Robbery; Indecent Exposure; Suicide; Criminal Trespassing; and Drug Possession. Elias was asked to provide some background on the evenings open forum‚ – topic du jour‚ – whether the concerts held at the park are a public nuisance. The current owners purchased it in 1997, however the Quarry Park itself has been around for about 60 years. The current property owners reside in Newbury, Ohio. The park is officially a commercial campground. Elias reiterated several times that the concerns were not about the park, but rather the concerts. At the previous meeting, the operator Evan Kelley, stated that he “lost control” of the Machine Gun Kelly concert, a statement that troubled Elias. The trustees made it clear that the topic was being address due to the number of complaints Elias and Leonard have received over the concerts.
Following the opening statements about the desired focus and scope of the commentary, the trustees turned the floor over to the audience, providing two minutes per person.
For the remainder of the meeting the trustees heard commentary in support of the the Quarry Park’s concerts, as well as several complaints about them. Ultimately Meduri suggested that the trustees put together a list of changes they would like to see from the Quarry Park, and submit them to the owner’s legal counsel; a suggestion that most of the trustees seemed to agree with. Some residents in attendance were, understandably, upset with the outcome of the meeting – a feeling compounded by Matota’s decision to get into a loud argument with them during the closing minutes of the discussion. Matota loudly asserted that he has “never received a phone call yet complaining about anything.” He continued by stating “We cannot please everybody. If there are so many people who are against the park, where are they tonight?” He encouraged anyone who has an issue in the township to call him at 330-527-2258. “Call it any time! I don’t care if it’s one o’clock in the morning or three o’clock in the morning, you call me and I will be on your steps in fifteen minutes!” proclaimed Matota.
Following Matota’s commentary the meeting was brought back to order, the trustees signed the checks for bills and wages. The meeting was adjourned afterward.