The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 21, 2013

Harpersfield Township gets new public building

Star Beacon

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — It took two years and a lot of planning, but the Harpersfield Township trustees have purchased the former Aqua building on Harpersfield Road for township office use, meeting space and as a fire station.

“This building is the future of Harpersfield Township,” trustee Ed Dempshar said. “We needed space for trustee meetings, for the zoning office, record keeping and for private meetings, and this building gives us all that plus space for an expanded fire station.”

The township paid $300,000 for the building, which includes 5,800 square feet of garage space and 1,508 square feet of office space on 1.65 acres of land.

“The building was purchased for the residents of Harpersfield Township to provide better services to the residents now and as the township continues to grow,” Trustee Cliff Henry said.

The garage will house Fire Station One, which will relocate from the old fire station on Route 307. That building will become the township garage as the new building becomes storage space for the station’s fire trucks and equipment. The cemetery office also will utilize the old building.

“The new station also has ample space for us to work on and maintain the equipment, which is very important,” Henry said. “The drive-through bays will provide a much safer facility as trucks will not have to be backed into the garage.”

Fire Station Two will remain at Cork Cold Springs Road.

Trustees are also excited about the new meeting space, which allows for residents and officials to more comfortably attend trustee meetings, zoning meetings and zoning board of appeals meetings. Zoning Officer Peggy Miller and Fiscal Officer Sharon Rohrbaugh also will get new offices at the new township hall.

“There is an office that will be used to house maps, zoning plans and other township information, and a conference room,” Trustee Jim Pristov said. “There will be space for all the township records to be brought to one location, plus an office for the fire chief, a communications room, a kitchenette, and rest rooms that include showers and clothes washing facilities for the firemen.”

Volunteers are working to update the electrical system in the building, and the fire truck bays must be insulated and sealed.

The building is handicapped accessible and has ample parking, Henry said.

“This building is beyond what we ever expected in terms of usability,” he said. “We could not afford to build this by ourselves, so to be able to move into such a perfect building in terms of use is amazing.”

Henry said the township’s joint economic development districts provided the income for the township to afford the new hall.

“That nice income makes this all possible,” he said.

Pristov said the building’s uses will expand to meet the needs of the growing township.

“We are getting so busy as a township,” Pristov said. “In the future we may even need to hire an administrator, and when we do, there will be office space for that position.”

Just because the township is moving up doesn’t mean the old red brick township building will fall to ruin, Henry said.

“We want to be very clear that the old township hall on Route 307 will be fully maintained and used by the township in some capacity. The building is a large part of the history of the township and will not be allowed to fall into disrepair or be destroyed,” he said.

Trustees said the building is a work in progress as the township offices slowly move into the new space. They plan to host a community open house when the transition is complete. Henry said the trustees plan to move the fire station in May.

“Although there is much work that must be completed before the facility is fully in use, this new building will allow the township to meet the current and future needs of the residents,” Dempshar said. “This is a facility that all the residents of Harpersfield Township can be very proud of. It will help to provide the residents with the services they deserve.”