2011-01-22 / News

Township moves into former church

By Scott Rawdon

UNION TOWNSHIP – As freezing drizzle coated their new home Monday night, Union Township Trustees held their first regular meeting of the year and their first ever in the new Union Township building at 1380 Beaver Run Rd. Trustees

Rick Black and Jesse Ours simultaneously re-nominated Trustee John Slater as trustee president. Black was selected as vice president, taking over the position from Ours.

The trustees agreed that each trustee could approve up to $1,500 in road improvements (replacing a culvert pipe, etc.) before all trustees must meet to discuss and approve the expense publicly.

In other township news:

• Black said the Licking County Sheriff’s Office may use the new building as a temporary base when deputies are filing reports on incidents that occur nearby. He said the sheriff’s office is concerned deputies are wasting fuel as they sit in their idling cars and write reports on laptops. Black said Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp wants deputies to find appropriate office locations to write their reports so they can shut down their cruisers as they write. Since the new Union Township building will house the Union Township Police Department, it seems like a natural place for deputies to write their reports when incidents take place nearby.

Black hopes Thorp will advise the township how to create the proper security for the police department. “We have a chance to set up a good facility and we need some guidance to do it,” he said. Thorp may attend their Feb. 7 meeting.

• Polymera, Inc. Vice President and General Manager Herb Hutchinson confirmed in a press release Jan. 6 that the company is setting up shop in a 160,000 square foot facility at the site of the former Diebold plant on Milliken Drive, just outside of Hebron in Union Township. Polymera is a custom manufacturer of wood/fiber polymer composite materials. It will share the plant with the existing Scott’s warehouse. “The old plant is huge,” said Slater previously. He said there are no toxicity issues with having a polymer manufacturer in Union Township.

“It’s a new start-up,” said Licking County Chamber of Commerce President Cheri Hottinger. She said the company plans to hire 80 employees over the next three years, and Hottinger expects production to begin near the end of the first quarter 2011 or during the second.

Hutchinson said Polymera will employ 20 people at start-up.

According to the release, wood polymer composites have experienced phenomenal growth over the past decade, and doubledigit growth continues as more markets recognize the advantages of wood polymer composite based product. Combining plastic and wood into a different material addresses environmental concerns such as deforestation and sustainability, but also provides an aesthetically pleasing, low maintenance, and cost effective alternative to wood or plastic.

• Trustees said the Licking Park District is vying for a $250,000 grant from Pepsi Cola’s Pepsi Refresh Project, in which programs in need of money compete for the grant on the web site www.refresheverything.com/ savethelickingparkdistrict. The public casts votes for programs to receive the grant; the top two projects each receive $250,000.

As of Tuesday, the Licking Park District is ranked 58 out of hundreds of contenders. Voting continues through January. Trustees thought each member of the public may cast a single vote, although Township Supervisor Paula Greene said she understood each person may vote up to 10 times.

The Licking Park District’s budget was cut by 53 percent for 2011. Operations Manager Cathy Fetter said the district laid off three of its four full-time employees and closed all facilities. One of the lay-offs occurred Jan. 1, and the other two lay-offs occurred Jan 14. The facilities closed Jan. 2. Fetter said Mary Beth Sills, the district’s grant writer, opted to write and submit the Pepsi Refresh Grant. “Unfortunately, she was one of the two employees laid off on January 14,” Fetter said.

• Hebron Fire Chief Randy Weekly presented the fire department’s statistics spanning 2006 through 2010. He said there was a grand total of 1,097 emergency runs in 2010. Stats show an almost a steady decline since 2006, when there were 1,245 runs. Interestingly, the average age of transported patients in 2010 was 50, the same as 2006 and 2009. In 2007 and 2008, the average age was 49.

The most 2010 fire incidents were vehicle fires (81), and most EMS patients were traumatic injuries (148).

• Dan Blatter, district engineer with Licking County Soil & Water, attended Monday night’s meeting to discuss the US EPA mandated Minimum Control Measure #6: “Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations” with trustees. According to MCM#6, the township is expected to maintain and operate the facilities it owns in a way that protects storm water from pollution. Basically, the measure ensures that run-off water (used to wash vehicles, spray away salt residue, etc.) does not flow into streams. Blatter said the county is addressing Minimum Control Measures 1 through 5, but MCM#6 is specific to villages and townships because not all entities face similar water run-off issues.

Blatter hopes county entities will be in compliance with MCM#6 by mid-year, but Slater doesn’t expect Union Township to take that long, or be particularly expensive, if compliance costs anything at all.

“ The worst case scenario would be roughly $1,500,” Slater said. He said the new township building is the only one the MCM#6 affects and he expected the property could be compliant within a month. Slater said if the township can figure out what it needs to do to become compliant on its own (for example, meeting with another township that had similar drainage issues and doing what it did) and is not forced to consult a private firm, it might be able to become compliant at nearly no cost. “The EPA is expecting it to be done,” he said.

Blatter wasn’t familiar with the penalties of non-compliance. “I don’t know the actual penalties,” he said, “But I believe they would be undesirable.”

• Trustees will accept bids from anyone interested in purchasing the steeple that used to adorn the new township building, which is a former church. Slater said $500 is the minimum bid and all bids must be delivered to Greene by noon Feb. 21. The bids will be opened during the Feb. 21 trustees meeting.

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