2009-06-20 / News

Township seeking stimulus funds for new fire house

By Scott Rawdon

THORNVILLE - Thorn Township Trustees have hired ADR & Associates of Newark to help the township secure federal stimulus money for the township's new fire house.

ADR & Associates CEO Doug Mill, who attended the trustees' June 10 meeting, told the trustees that $210 million has been appropriated for qualified fire department projects. Up to $5 million each is allocated for 100 projects and Mills expects the government to receive somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 applications. Mathematically, this leaves Thorn Township about a one percent chance of receiving government funding, but Mills believes that the odds may be better.

First of all, he said Thorn Township's project should only require a little more than $1 million - its design is in progress - and from what he's seen, he thinks the project is a good candidate.

Trustees agreed.

"I think it's something we need to pursue," said Trustee Dick Boring during the June 10 meeting. "It could save the tax payers a lot of money."

Mill said the fire station's design might need to be LEED certified - or meet minimum government standards for "green" design and sustainability - to receive funding. He said this may increase construction costs, but being LEED certified would save the township money in the long run.

Mills said the township might have a better chance it if only asks for half the cost of construction. "Any free money is good money," he said.

Trustees agreed to pay ADR up to $6,000 to complete the application process. Trustee Rick Wilson said sometimes one must spend money to get money.

"If you don't try, you won't get anything," said Mill.

Trustee Tim Phipps was absent.

In other township news:

• Zoning Inspector Dale Factor said he is receiving complaints about Snug Harbor developer Marty Finta's plans for a grand kick-off celebration for the Snug Harbor project, which included live music and fireworks.

Resident Vern Warner said Finta told people there would be no live music at the project site.

Wilson said he didn't like the idea of sending Thorn Township Fire Department equipment to the function to monitor the fireworks. "(Finta) owes the township $72,000, and now we're sending the fire department out there to cover him?" he said. Wilson worried the fire truck could have difficulty responding to other emergencies if parked vehicles created congestion within the Snug Harbor development.

Fire Chief Duane Moore said he believed the fire department is obligated to send equipment to any legal fireworks launch and he said Finta offered to make charitable contributions following EMS service.

In an email sent Tuesday, Finta, who was not at the meeting, responded, "We do not owe $72,000 to the township and have no legal financial obligation or requirement to Thorn Township. However, we are willing to make charitable contributions to Thorn Township Fire and EMS departments, pursuant to the discussions I had with former Township Trustee, Dave Hoops.

"I requested many times to Dale Factor, Zoning Inspector, to have the Thorn Township Trustees call me to schedule a meeting to discuss our charitable contribution intent, which he told me he informed the Trustees. Finally, after prompting Dale, I received a telephone call from Trustee Boring and informed him of my desire to meet to discuss our intent and look to put it to writing, if possible. Rick Wilson has never contacted me regarding this issue.

"I will be glad to meet with Dave Hoops, Rick Wilson and the current trustees to discuss this issue."

Dan Trapp, Production Manager for the Columbus Radio Group and Program Director for Smooth Jazz, WJZA 103.5 said Tuesday that promoters called to tell him the Snug Harbor event was sold out June 10. Trapp said Smooth Jazz artist Paul Taylor performed and Smooth Jazz, WJZA in Columbus was the radio partner for the event. He said this was the first of three concerts planned for Snug Harbor this summer.

Trapp said the only problem last Saturday was parking. Soggy ground conditions forced the promoters to move the stage which created a long walk for late arriving patrons. Many were forced to park along Custer's Point Road and then walk hundreds of yards to Snug Harbor. "This won't be an issue for the next concert at Snug Harbor," he said.

Werner said some nearby residents complained that the fireworks were detonated over their homes and showered ashes on their roofs.

• Moore said he might have access to several MARCS radios Muskingum County previously used. Moore hopes to install a radio in each emergency vehicle, if possible. According to the Ohio Office of Information Technology, MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communication System) is an 800 MHz radio and data network that utilizes state-of-the-art trunked technology to provide statewide interoperability in digital clarity to its subscribers throughout Ohio and a 10-mile radius outside of Ohio. The MARCS system provides statewide, secure, reliable public service wireless communication for public safety and first responders.

Moore assured the trustees he'd talk to them before purchasing any MARCS radios, if they're available.

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