This is a letter from a concerned citizen, regarding the Old School, and your response:
" Dear Mayor, Last night I attended the Council Meeting. You made a comment saying that by tearing down the Old School it would make the town more "walkable". I don't understand this comment. The Old School sits behind other buildings and is not situated in such a way to be easily accessible to the square or for that matter any other section of downtown. I am just very curious about this statement. I only wish to understand better your position. I am currently looking to purchase a home in Twinsburg and this decision will have a lasting effect on my town. I realize that you have a responsibility to the people of Twinsburg, which is why I ask you the following question. When something is this important to so many people why not put it to a vote. After all you serve ALL the people of Twinsburg. You have nothing to lose by asking the public to vote on this matter. It is the peoples money and you are the steward of the that money. You work for the people of Twinsburg. If the people as a majority feel it should come down then I will sadly not argue. I just feel that destroying the building once done cannot be undone. Please just ask the people in a vote. Thank you "
You're response:" I saw this page on the The City of Twinsburg web site and thought you might be interested in it.
This is what the site said:
City of Twinsburg Government
Section 3 of Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution reads as follows:
" Municipalities shall have authority to exercise all powers of local self-government and to adopt and enforce within their limits such local police, sanitary and other similar regulations, as are not in conflict with general laws."
The Ohio constitution home-rule provision grants the City of Twinsburg the authority to exercise self-government through the establishment of our Charter. Our Charter establishes a Strong Mayor – Council form of government where the Mayor is elected at-large and serves as the Chief Executive and Administrative Officer of the City.
Council consists of 7 members, 2 which are elected at-large and 5 elected by ward. Members serve 4 year terms commencing in odd years. The terms are staggered so that no more than 4 seats are open at any one time. Council is responsible for setting policies and making decisions on local government issues including tax rates, annexations, property code variances, and large contract awards.
Various Boards and Commissions are established and are comprised of citizens who are appointed by council. These Boards and Commissions serve in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and Council by gathering information on pending issues, analyzing it and recommending options to Council.
The Mayor and City Council are supported by the various City Departments who provide public services to the successful operation and improvement of the City of Twinsburg, its residents, businesses, and visitors. "
This is the reply I got:
Hello Mr. Slezak:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Old School.
I appreciate your concern and passion for the Old School. As a resident since 1977 I have memories of my kids playing ball on the field and sledding down the hill. However, there is another side to this issue; and I believe that over a period of several years we have done our due diligence in researching both sides of this issue.
In response to your email I am forwarding information regarding the due diligence performed by the city to determine if the Old School is suitable for redevelopment. You will find it in the attached PDF.
The following is a short recap of the studies that were considered in the due diligence process:
• Museum Feasibility Study and Final Report – December 2011
o $6400 study to determine its use as a museum (trains, Perambulators, dolls, memorabilia), with ancillary bake shop with classes, art studios and office use.
o The result: not ADA compliant, electric & plumbing is original, museums required free rent as they produce little if any revenue and they also require building refurbishment
o They are not willing to display items without sprinkler system and new electrical & plumbing as there is too much risk involved. Need new HVAC system for climate control.
• Facility Review and Final Report – March 2012
o $6300 study conducted by Pervanje Architects LLC. They documented the structural deficiencies of the building and analyzed potential uses.
o To renovate the building and bring it into ADA/and building code compliance it will cost between 4 and 8 Million dollars. I have all of the supporting data from the study but
you can tour the outside of the building yourself and see some of the problems such as the rusted lintels that are causing structural damage. Water damage, due to the rusted lintels,
is deteriorating the building (building is sinking - visible on the exterior of the 1921 section of the building). Exterior structural cracks are apparent.
I know that you understand that fiscal responsibility is the core of the sustainability of any community. It is very difficult to justify the fiscal liability and ongoing operational expenses against
the potential loss of services and/or capital projects that may be required to offset the monetary investment that will be needed to preserve the Old School.
After the loss of the Chrysler Stamping Plant the city spent many years mitigating the loss of income tax revenue through cost saving measures, an increase in income tax and the attrition of
over 20 employees. I know how quickly the financial situation can change with the loss of one big employer. We have worked our way back to a financially secure position and I would not be
acting in a fiscally responsible manner to risk the City’s reserves on a building that has little if any re-use potential.
As far as placing this issue on the ballot: I believe that it would not be fair to the residents to place this issue on the ballot without a firm and viable plan for the future use of the building as well as
information regarding the impact to the city’s budget from renovation costs and ongoing operational expenses. The ballot is not a survey tool; it is a voting process used to make decisions based on
good planning and financial considerations. If we use the ballot as an emotional gauge we would be doing our entire community a disservice.
I certainly understand the emotional ties to the building. My daughter attended the Old School and is now a successful businesswoman who graduated from Ashland University.
The teachers at the Old School played an important role in her educational process, but I am certain that it was the teachers, not the building that made the difference in her life.
Sincerely,Katherine A. Procop, cpm