Regional dispatch center will be in Tallmadge
TALLMADGE – Three buildings on the Summit County-owned property at 89 E. Howe Ave., on the corner of state Route 91, will have new purposes.
The former Weaver Workshop, which is closest to state Route 91, has been chosen as the new regional dispatch center.
Brian Nelsen, chief of staff for County Executive Ilene Shapiro, said 18 communities who are part of the Computer-Aided Dispatch system could be part of the Council of Governments. The CAD is the software a dispatch center uses while the COG is an agreement between municipalities to share in the costs of a joint dispatch center.
The city of Akron will not be a member of consolidated dispatch but is looking at possibly locating in the Tallmadge Dispatch center in a separate space, Nelsen said.
The county asked for a commitment from the communities on June 30, he said.
“We know Stow cannot formally commit, but we want to know if the Stow mayor and council are supportive of getting it to the ballot,” Nelsen said.
If the county can get commitments from the communities outside of Stow to enter the intergovernmental agreement, then the county could issue bonds to finish design work and begin construction work on the Tallmadge facility, he said.
“The county will take the lead as long as we have communities to support the debt,” Nelsen said.
The debt service would be turned over to a COG as part of the operating costs when the COG is formed, he said.
If Akron is not in the COG, the costs to all the partners would be $7.4 million with the partners’ share at $3.5 million and the county’s share being $3.9 million.
Mayor David Kline and other representatives from the county, presented the history and facts of a regional dispatch center to Stow City Council June 25. He also told Tallmadge council members the same night about the purchase of the Summit DD building.
The city of Tallmadge has a contract with Stow and pays the city $480,000 for dispatch but would use that money when it joined the regional dispatch, Kline said.
“If there was a regional dispatch, Tallmadge would join it,” Kline said.
A regional dispatch center has communities working together and saving tax dollars, he said.
The city of Tallmadge contract with Stow has an out clause, but Kline said he would need an alternative dispatch center before leaving Stow.
“We can’t start our own dispatch back up,” Kline said. “It would be very costly. The only way we would leave Stow is if there was an alternative, if there was a regional dispatch center or join the county as a contractor. But our relationship with Stow has been good.”
Stow would have to put the choice of joining a regional dispatch center on the ballot for voters to decide after passing legislation last fall.
“They have to ask voters first,” Kline said.
The garage to the east is being used by the Summit County Sheriff’s department for storage. In the middle is the Summit DD building, which the city of Tallmadge could purchase for $1. Summit DD is scheduled to move to Cuyahoga Falls in 2022.
At the June 25 Tallmadge Council meeting, Kline talked about forming a committee to study the cost of renovations as well as the cost of demolition if the city would purchase the building and property that the city now leases with four soccer fields on it.
“The building is pretty solid but needs roof work and electrical maintenance,” Kline said. “I think it has potential. We could figure out a repurpose of the building. If costs were too prohibitive for repairs and maintenance, we would get a price for demo and clear the land.”
Some of the ideas for the building would be a training center for safety forces since the sheriff and a dispatch center would be on each side of the building or indoor basketball courts for parks and recreation. Other ideas include a wing for economic development or a medical corridor.
“We lease the fields from the county and we do the maintenance,” Kline said. “They would sell the fields to us.”
A baseball field that is ADA accessible is also part of the property and used for challenger teams.
Summit DD has to agree to transfer the property but their board has to approve the transfer, Kline said.
“There are a lot of moving parts,” he added.
Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at email@example.com