The Chardon Township Road Department is set to reopen Clark Road this week once work crews finish installing 600 feet of storm drains and a catch basin to improve water drainage. Crews have been working on the project for a little over a month, Road Superintendent John Wascho said.
“We lowered the pipes and cleaned out the old drainage channel going back through the woods that drained into a lake,” Mr. Wascho explained after the trustees meeting last week. “The swamp probably hadn’t been cleaned in 40 years. It caused some damage to the road. The ditch was wet all the time, which did not allow the water under the road or along the edge of the road.”
The road was open for Labor Day weekend but closed again on Tuesday, he said, with the intention to have the work complete by the end of this week. It’s a pretty significant project, he added. Mr. Wascho’s background in drainage work allowed the township to do the project in-house and save money instead of going to an outside contractor, he said.
The project cost about $3,000 in materials plus the labor of township workers, Mr. Wascho said.
They also patched a number of potholes. Mr. Wascho said his department got the approval to perform maintenance work on Hosford Road in 2021. “Until we educate the residents that we need an increase in our road levy, resurfacing projects aren’t going to be what they’re usually up to.”
Trustees also decided to reach out to their prosecuting attorney to get her opinion on what to do with the Echols Property, a piece of land on Clark Road that serves as a junkyard even though its permit expired in 1999, according to Trustee Tim McKenna.
Trustees said the yard is still filled with scrap, and owner Sellie Echols is looking to sell about 30 of the property’s 99 acres to a land developer.
This, in turn, has sparked a debate between Ms. Echols and her son, Robert, who still works at the junk yard, Mr. McKenna added. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has expressed concern over possible land contamination from some of the scrap on site. Mr. McKenna said the land currently is zoned industrial, so a variance is needed to switch the land use to residential before it can be developed.
“We’re talking to our prosecuting attorney how we’re supposed to assist our health department with the complaint,” he said. “The township and [Geauga County] health department are going to work together to resolve it. They’re basically asking Sellie to clean it up. There’s cost involved to it, what degree, I don’t know. With that said, the health department asked our Zoning Inspector [Donald Mohney] to assist them.”
With Chardon Prosecuting attorney Linda Applebaum currently on maternity leave, the township will be working with attorney Susan Wieland from the Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office to resolve this matter, Mr. McKenna said.
Trustees said that they have an additional $25,000 in CARES Act money to work with now that the second installment of the federal funds has hit village accounts. At their previous meeting, trustees said the township was looking for ways to spend the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act money.
“If we don’t use it, it goes back to the county and it goes to the other communities,” Mr. McKenna said. “Here’s an opportunity you’re never going to receive again, that’s all I’m saying.” So far, money from the mandate has been spent on touchless light switches, paper towel dispensers and hand sanitizers, with trustees also interested in purchasing touchless plumbing systems for bathroom faucets and toilets.
Township Fiscal Officer Ilona Daw-Krizman suggested that the Trustees get price quotes for installing hard flooring that would be easier to disinfect at the township office building. They discussed it at their previous meeting in August but decided to scrap it then because Trustee Charles Strazinsky did not approve of the type of flooring.
Trustees voted at that last meeting to donate $5,000 of their CARES money of $85,813.75, to the Chardon Local School District.
“We’re about to change our superintendent,” Trustee Michael Brown told his peers in reference to an event that occurred during Chardon High School’s Aug. 28 opening football game where a football player ran onto the field carrying a Blue Lives Matter flag. The flag is simultaneously seen as a show of support for law enforcement and a hate symbol, having been flown by white supremacist groups during rallies.
“All of my blue flags are up right now,” Mr. McKenna said.
Trustees also voted to sign an agreement for a $2,500 Go Green Grant, which Mrs. Daw-Krizman said would be used to help pay for the tire disposal day set for this fall.
The board voted to contract with The PennOhio corporation to haul away the tires at a rate of $175 per ton and $780 per individual haul.
“We only need one haul, there was only one last year,” Administrative Assostant Lisa Nelson added.
Mr. McKenna said the Geauga County Board of Elections “trashed” the meeting room at Chardon Township Hall when they last used it in 2018.
“I guess we don’t charge the [elections board] to use the hall,” Mrs. Daw-Krizman explained. “Other entities do. We’ve already signed the agreement to let them rent it, though, so we’re going to have to get that clean.”
Trustees also want to install a WiFi hotspot in the township office for use by residents at public meetings and events. They told Mrs. Nelson to contact Verizon Wireless about setting it up.
A new Sam’s Club Plus membership will also make things more convenient for employees with free shipping, making it so that they don’t have to pay someone to drive to the bulk retailer for supplies.
The next Chardon Township Trustees meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Chardon Township Office, 9949 Mentor Road.