TWINSBURG — Those driving by the Moses Roach House in the historic Twinsburg Square will see several improvements to the structure.
The most noticeable is a new wheelchair ramp at the home, which was built in 1873, said Andy Tomko, president of the Twinsburg Historical Society. The ramp was constructed courtesy of the UAW Community Outreach Program in mid-September.
"This saved us $10,000 in labor," Tomko said. "They were very professional and really did a fantastic job. They came in, they had a system in place. They did it in four days."
He thanked Jason Vessey, the local UAW foreman and Fred McHann, another union representative and Twinsburg resident.
Tomko said that the old ramp was in disrepair. "My son and I were able to just lift it up and carry it off."
He added the new ramp is solidly in place
Vessey said that the area's Community Outreach Program is a joint effort with the Local 2000 of Avon Lake and Local 1250 of Brook Park. He said the program provided a team of five workers trained to work on homes to assist those who are elderly or have disabilities. Their primary specialty, Vessey said, is to install wheelchair ramps.
The program has been in the area for about five years, but has been active nationally for around 10 years.
"There are locations all over the country," Vessey said, adding the program often works with nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity.
"We do this 40 hours a week, with a crew of five," Vessey said. "We do three to four jobs a week. We do work outside in the winter as long as it's not crazy freezing."
Accessibility and home safety is "an even bigger need than you can ever imagine," he added.
"It helps people that are home-bound help get out of their house," Vessey said. "We've helped the elderly, families with kids, vets. It blew me away how many people are in need."
Anyone who may need a ramp, or knows someone who may need a ramp, is encouraged to visit www.uawford.org/ramprequest online.
Tomko said McHann, a Twinsburg resident, was the one who told the historical society about the Community Outreach Program.
The city had purchased the house in 1998, and the Twinsburg Chamber of Commerce has used the former residence of Moses Road for several years. The historical society purchased it from the city, with certain conditions that had to be met. The city required the historical society to make seven fixes to the home.
So far, as well as having a new ramp put in, the historical society has repaired the back porch, redone the cabinets and fixed a hole in the kitchen ceiling.
Repairs still pending include improving the drainage around the property, inspection and repair of any issues with the sandstone areas, and digging out and repairing the north foundation and wall. Tomko said he anticipates that these will be complete before the end of November, "weather permitting."
The historical society is looking to raise $100,000 for the work needed around the home; so far, $47,000 has been raised.
Tomko said anyone who would like to donate can send a check to the society at P.O. Box 7, Twinsburg 44087 or online at www.twinsbughistoricalsociety.org. Donations are 100 percent tax-deductible.
"We are very grateful," Tomko said.
In addition, the historical society is looking to place the Moses Roach Home on the National Register of Historic Places.
"It's looking positive," Tomko said. "If this is approved, it will be the third place in Twinsburg in the National Register of Historic Places."
The two buildings are the Twinsburg Institute at 8996 Darrow Road, which was listed in 1976 and which the historical society uses as a local history museum, and the Twinsburg Congregational Church on the public square, which was listed in 1974, according to information provided by the National Register of Historic Places.
A third structure, the Herrick House, was listed on the National Register in 1974, according to information from Hale Farm and Village. However, the home was dismantled and rebuilt at Hale Farm in Bath when it was threatened with demolition in 1981.
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