TWINSBURG — Now that the city has approved handing over ownership of the Moses Roach "Chamber" house to the Twinsburg Historical Society, the latter group is gearing up to start making repairs, estimated at $280,000.

The house, currently housing the offices of the Twinsburg Chamber of Commerce, sits beside the First Congregational Church on the west side of the Township Township Square. It was built for blacksmith Moses Roach in 1873.

The agreement OK’d by the city allows the deed to be transferred to the society prior to repairs being made. Originally, the transfer was conditioned upon structural repairs and updates being completed prior to transfer.

Twinsburg Historical Society president Andy Tomko recently told City Council that the society is moving ahead with plans for placement of the house on the National Registry of Historic Places, which could assist in securing funds for restoration.

"We’re working out some final legal details and hope to sign the acquisition contract very soon," said Tomko. "Then we’ll be able to start on the upgrades, which under the contract we have two years to complete."

Several people already have pledged support to restore the structure, according to Tomko, who added Chamber offices will remain there for the time being.

"We want to restore it to its original beauty,"  he said.

"The Rotary Club, Chamber, city and several businesses have pledged support," he said. "Some businesses plan to provide services either pro bono or at a discount, and we’ve received money from several society members."

Sometime in May, the society and Rotary Club of Twinsburg are planning a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to raise funds.

Tomko said the society is grateful for the help of five people who devised a plan for repairs: Jim Mirgliotta of Forest City Erectors, former Mayor Jim Karabec, Jim Turle of Turle Construction, Rich Bissell of Bissell Excavating and Dennis Steigerwald.

"We’ve spent a lot of money on properties we oversee, and plan to spend more to get the Roach house up to code," said Tomko, who said a budget for the various upgrades is in place.

According to Mayor Ted Yates, a report compiled last year by Construction Resources Inc. indicated the house has several structural problems that caused safety concerns for city officials.

He said the consultant estimated up to $280,000 might be needed to fully upgrade the structure, but Tomko believes the historical society can improve its condition for much less with help from the community.

Tomko has compiled a list of repairs the society plans to make on the house, including replacing the roof above the kitchen, the north wall crawl space and a handicapped ramp. The north wall also needs to be waterproofed.

Repairs must be made to the front porch and its floor painted, wall cabinets need to be removed and reinstalled, and four broken windows in the basement are in need of repair.

Tomko said the exterior door to the basement needs to be replaced, a new storm sewer line is needed from the front porch to a catch basin on the southwest corner of the property, and three downspouts and a drain cistern need to be connected.

"After the basement is addressed, block walls need to be fixed, as does the floor of the rear porch," he added.

Meanwhile, Tomko said an Ohio history class at Kent State University is helping the society with research and application for the National Registry of Historic Places, a process which likely will take six months.

"We plan to partner with KSU not only for this process, but for other programs relating to local history, including a junior docent program in conjunction with Dodge Middle School," Tomko said.

Tomko recently talked to the Ohio history class at KSU about Twinsburg history.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com