Trustees approve agreement for Wilkshire sports complex

Trustees approve agreement for Wilkshire sports complex
Lori Feeney

Lawrence Township is seeking qualified applicants to serve as summer help with mowing and weed eating.


At its Feb. 25 meeting, Lawrence Township trustees voted to approve a Tax Increment Financing agreement for the Massarelli baseball complex to be built in Wilkshire Hills along state Route 212. Approval was based on 20% of the money coming back to the township to cover expenses such as road maintenance and EMS, which would be incurred after the complex is up and running.

The group building the complex is owned by John Massarelli, who also owns the Massarelli Baseball School and played for the Houston Astros from 1987-93.

According to Massarelli, the complex will include six baseball fields, a work room and a restaurant. He hopes to begin construction soon and have the complex ready for fall baseball, if not sooner.

Trustees also agreed to apply for a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to build a boat ramp on the river at the River Community Park. The $75,000 grant, if received, would require the township to pay for the construction in advance and be reimbursed by ODNR.

Trustee Matt Ritterbeck presented a proposal from the Thrasher Group to provide engineering, administration and other work. The project will cost an estimated $74,734. Because the ramp will facilitate entry to the river for emergency watercraft, Patrick Martinez of the Bolivar Fire Board said the department will contribute $45,000 toward the reimbursable cost.

Trustees also approved a resolution for an ODNR NatureWorks grant to cover 75% of the remaining expenses from building the walking trail in Wilkshire Hills. Ann Ackerman said the township received a check from the ODNR Recreational Trails Program in the amount of $23,870 as reimbursement for the trail work, leaving $5,967.52 of expenses remaining on the project to be covered at 75% by the NatureWorks grant.

Road supervisor report

Chuck McNutt, road supervisor for the township, presented a quote for a new lawn mower for the cemetery. He said both of the mowers are nearing the end of their service life. He’d like to purchase one mower this year and wait until 2022 to purchase another, if needed.

Trustees approved a quote from Reilly Sweeping presented by McNutt for four days of street sweeping: two in the spring and two in the fall after chip and seal work is completed.

McNutt also presented a revised plan for paving township roads this year. He said to expect cost increases due to the higher cost of liquid tar. The plan will be sent to the county engineer for bidding, and once cost estimates are available, trustees will determine which roads can be paved in 2021.

McNutt said the township is seeking qualified applicants to serve as summer help with mowing and weed eating. High school graduates age 18 and over can apply by calling the township office at 330-874-2731.

Trustee Don Ackerman asked what happened to the Fort Laurens cemetery sign. McNutt reported the sign was blown down in a recent storm and moved to storage for repair.

Zoning matters

Zoning inspector Ron Weekley said he, McNutt and board President Mike Haueter met with representatives of CCU Coal & Construction regarding their request to mine property owned by Holmes Limestone on the corner of Eberhart and St. Peter’s Church Road.

Weekley said the company was told to stay at least 25 feet away from the roadway. He said the company would not be mining in that section of the property but needs a place to put topsoil and spoil.

Weekley said the used clothing collection bin formerly located at the site of the burned-out car wash has been moved to Wilkshire Storage and is open for donations.

Trustees reviewed zoning changes proposed by the zoning commission. Haueter and Ackerman had questions for the commission on some of the changes. A special meeting was to be held March 4.

Other matters

Haueter said details on the fire contract between Lawrence Township, the Bolivar Fire Department and Zoar Village are still being ironed out.

Bolivar Fire Chief Shawn Lynch extended a thank you on behalf of the department, the state fire marshal’s office and the county coroner’s office to McNutt and Todd Reynolds for the help they provided on the Middle Run Road fire. The fatal fire occurred in the early morning hours of Feb. 15.

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