Mayor Doug Mayer cast the tie-breaking vote to approve a free study that could pave the way for Peninsula to unload the long-vacant Player’s Barn.
Council, at its Nov. 10 meeting, was deadlocked in a 3-3 tie over whether to approve a $3,000 asbestos-removal study for the Player’s Barn. The Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization is willing to fund the study, Mayer said. Council members Brian Schall, Dan Schneider and Pam Schneider voted against the proposal after some heated discussion.
Mayer presented the proposal to Council, saying it was the first step toward making the Player’s Barn an asset that could be swapped to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) for property the village needs for a sewage plant.
Once the study is completed, Mayer said it could be used to apply for a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brownfields grant for asbestos removal, which could cost up to $200,000. The EPA grant requires a 20 percent local match that park officials said they would find a way to fund for the village, Mayer said.
The Player’s Barn was donated to the village about 25 years ago. It has been used as a community theater, a sound recording studio and was home to an antiques store until it became uninhabitable.
Under the scenario presented by Mayer, the structure would be swapped to the CVNP and be used as a barn.
The village has long wrestled with how to best maximize the asset. Most recently, a community group organized to lease the building from the village and rehabilitate it, but the effort stalled over a year ago.
Also at the meeting, in an effort to find additional money to maintain village roads, Council approved a contract through 2015 with MS Consultants Inc., of Akron. Gary Diorio, of MS Consultants, said the company will seek out grants to fund road repair and reconstruction. In most cases, MS Consultants would be hired to do engineering for projects funded by grants they win for the village, Diorio said.
Council also discussed funding a survey of a portion of Akron-Peninsula Road that Mayer has suggested vacating to save money on road maintenance. Mayer said the portion of Akron-Peninsula Road he is suggesting be vacated serves only CVNP properties.
In another matter, Councilman Mike Matusz proposed the use of a log at village hall as a record of calls, events and incidents such as the recent breakdown of a village service vehicle. Matusz said he was unhappy with the lack of communication in the village government. He said he had a difficult time getting information about the vehicle’s breakdown and didn’t understand why the road supervisor did not communicate with the mayor about the problem.
Council also heard a presentation by Chuck Hawk, of the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA).
Fiscal Officer John Stiegel said the village’s current tax collection agency, Central Collection Agency, has not performed satisfactorily in past months. RITA provides online tracking tools that would be valuable to the village, he said. CCA collects taxes for both the village and for the Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) with Boston Township. Mayer said Boston had complained about inaccuracies in CCA’s tax collections for the JEDD.
Councilwoman Dee Holody said she wanted to make sure any change in tax collection agencies benefited village residents, not just the JEDD.
In other business, Council:
- agreed to contract with Simple Recycling for collection of soft recyclables;
- heard Zoning Inspector Rebecca Garner received a $2,000 scholarship from Lean-Ohio to attend a one-week course at The University of Akron on office management;
- passed a resolution to authorize the mayor to enter into an $11,000 agreement with The Walter H. Drane Co. to classify and codify ordinances;
- adopted a resolution to reimburse FirstEnergy about $4,195 for damage to a utility pole due to a hit-and-run accident; and
- adopted a resolution directing the mayor to contract with Time Warner Cable Business Class for Internet and telephone services.
Council’s next meeting is set for Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in the second-floor Council room of Peninsula Village Hall, located at the corner of state Route 303 and Akron-Peninsula Road.