TWINSBURG TWP. — Improvements to the former Twinsburg Heights Community Center grounds on Harvard Road are forthcoming, after Trustees OK’d a memorandum of understanding with a non-profit organization.
Township Manager Rob Kagler said the township is seeking vendors to prepare a plan for future use of the property. The memorandum of understanding is with Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a nonprofit group in Chardon that would upgrade the ballfield at the five-acre site.
Kagler said upgrades will cost about $160,000, with the group raising $80,000 and the township providing $80,000 to improve the field, install new fencing and dugouts and buy equipment and possibly a scoreboard.
After the ballfield upgrades, future plans could include upgrading of the basketball courts, expanding parking, building a playground and adding a building for storage, meetings, restrooms and a concession stand.
Kagler said the township could apply for an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant to help with the cost of the improvements. Next year’s grant deadline is early November, and Kagler said he hopes to have a concept plan put together by then.
"This would be a great public improvement project," said Kagler.
"It sounds exciting," added Trustee chairperson Jim Balogh, who said the Twinsburg Baseball League should be made aware of the plan to "provide another set of eyes."
In other business at the Sept. 5 meeting, Trustees favored keeping the level of service under the 2019 police contract the same as this year after Kagler provided three service level options.
With the passage of a 2.8-mill levy in May, the township returned the level of service to what it was prior to cuts in the three-year contract which took effect Jan. 1.
This year, the township will pay the Summit County Sheriff’s Department $856,901, with that amount rising to $883,316 in 2019 and $910,540 in 2020 ($2.65 million total).
"If we keep the contract at the same level, we won’t have to transfer any money from the general fund until 2018, which means a new levy won’t be needed until 2027," said Kagler. "It’s pretty spectacular going nine years without a new levy."
If Trustees decide to increase service to add one, eight-hour a day deputy in 2020, Kagler said the township shouldn’t have to transfer money from the general fund until 2023, which means no new levy until 2022.
"I’d suggest keeping the same level of service through 2019, then revisiting the issue next year," said Trustee Thomas Schmidt. Kagler said if Trustees decide to increase service, they can do it anytime during the year.
Kagler said Trustees look at buying body cameras for all deputies serving the township, noting only one body camera is available now.
Kagler said the township is looking at some purchases for this year’s LuminoCity event on the Township Square. Included are three live trees for the square and other locations, PVC arches and artificial greenery for poles.
Other possible additions for this year are lighting for the new arches and a fireworks display.
Trustees approved sending special assessments — mostly for lighting — to the Summit County fiscal office for placement on certain residents’ tax duplicates.
Kagler reported the township had a home on Ravenna Road demolished recently. He said the $12,500 cost will be billed to the property owner, and if it is not paid by the end of the year the cost will be assessed to the owner’s tax duplicate.
Trustees OK’d setting aside up to $1,000 for township officials and staffers to attend a Cleveland area planning and zoning conference in November, and permitted the square to be used for the America Needs Fatima campaign on Oct. 13.
AUG. 15 MEETING
A donation of $300 to the city of Twinsburg for the Oct. 13 Environmental Commission community cleanup was approved at trustees’ Aug. 15 session.
Volunteers will gather during the morning to clean up streets and streams in the area and then will enjoy lunch. In the afternoon, the Tinkers Creek Watershed Festival will take place, with games, hikes, tours, prizes and demonstrations.
Trustees also approved a request from Scouting in Twinsburg to use the Township Square on Sept. 15-16 for a recruiting event and overnight campout.
Commenting on the Summit County Board of Elections’ recent finding that enough valid signatures were not obtained for a home rule issue to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, Balogh said:
"When we submitted the petitions, we did so with the understanding they may not contain the large excess (beyond those required) of signatures needed to overcome any unacceptable signatures.
"Unfortunately, that's what the Board of Elections found. Look for the township to renew our efforts to bring the question of limited home rule to our constituents at the 2019 general election."
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.