RUSSELL — It looks as though the old township fire station won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, now that the trustees voted last week to rescind their December 2019 resolution to demolish the 68-year-old building.
“I truly believe that the old fire station has some value,” Trustee Jim Mueller said after the meeting. Now, he said, the trustees will just have to decide whether they want to spend $55,000 based on a bid to replace about 20 percent of the roof for the building on Chillicothe and Kinsman roads.
“There was an effort to have the old fire station torn down after Justin Madden lost to Kristina Port” last November, Mr. Mueller explained of the action to raze the building. “I truly believe that the old fire station has some value. It can be very nicely used for something at some point.”
Trustees assistant Melissa Palmer said that the resolution to rescind the demolition order does assume that the trustees still want to take down the old radio tower at some point, and Mr. Mueller agreed. Trustee Gary Gabram, who voted “no” to rescinding the resolution, said the building was too old and money would be better spent on a new structure rather than repairs.
Trustees also approved the extension of Craun & Associates rental agreement at Russell Town Hall at 8501 Kinsman Road until Dec. 31, but not beyond that date.
Mr. Mueller elaborated that the firm mostly conducts work off-site and uses space in the town hall for offices. It is significant that the township is not extending the lease into next year, he said, because the company has been renting that space for at least 25 years.”
Trustees said that Laurel School will be acquiring a fifth permanent yurt to use as a classroom that will better allow for social distancing when the upcoming school year starts. The Shaker Heights based school has an outdoor campus that spans both Russell and Chester townships. The Russell Township Board of Zoning Appeals recently approved the new structure.
“It’s a portable tent that’s very thick and it can withstand all kinds of weather,” Mr. Mueller said at the trustees meeting. Mr. Mueller added that the new yurt will help as even virtual classes will have real-time components occurring at the school.
Trustees also continued discussion of proposed security updates they want to make to encourage better compliance at the township’s recycling center. Mr. Mueller said he wants to put in three signs near the recycling collection bins at 14291 Chillicothe Road.
“The one is going to advise people not to put anything on the ground outside the bins because that’s one of our major headaches,” Mr. Mueller said. “If they throw stuff on the ground, that’s considered littering and we’re going to have to go after them. Second thing is that it has to be recyclable material.”
The third sign, he said, will alert recyclers that a high-resolution camera has been installed in the area, which is able to read license plates to help the township identify and prosecute anyone practicing improper recycling, an issue that’s been facing the trustees since June.
“And if we’re doing that, we’re going to prosecute them, and it can be a fine of up to $500 and two weeks in jail,” Mr. Mueller continued. “We’re thinking the cameras are going to be about $6,000 installed and set up. Signs would be another $2,500 to $3,000.”
Trustees have yet to seek bids on the cameras and signs.
On the advice of Russell Township Police Chief Timothy Carroll, Mr. Mueller also expressed interest at the meeting in installing two new of cameras at the old fire station to keep an eye on the property, since the police and fire departments are storing equipment inside. The cameras would run off a generator that still sits outside the old station, which is on the police department’s emergency backup power grid.
Russell Township firefighter Casey McCarthy plans to attend a University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center program to update his certifications and qualifications after the trustees voted to send him to the Aug. 28 program.
“I always like to see one of our own move up,” Mr. Mueller said. “A lot of these young guys are willing to step up and increase their education.” Continuous updates in the first responder field, he said, mandate such trainings.
Chief Carroll said that a new police cruiser that his department ordered in March to be ready on Aug. 10 will not be complete until October, after the Ford Motor Company manufacturer indicated that work hasn’t even begun on the car.
He also said that the department received a $1,000 grant to be spent on services provided by Lexipol, LLC, which offers law enforcement agencies automatic electronic updates and notifications about new state or federal law policies.
Trustees approved a proposal from G.A.R. Paving of Newbury to chip and seal the parking lot of the Bob Hall Memorial Baseball Field at the corner of Fairmount and Chillicothe roads, which Mr. Mueller said currently is all gravel. They also voted to accept a payment of $31,000 from Geauga County for road maintenance on Caves, Russell and Fairmount roads that is performed by the township.
The next trustee meeting in 7 p.m. Aug. 19.