The township should be ready to bid out the project at the beginning of 2018, and work — commencing with the concrete floor — would follow when weather permits, said Karl Brunell, trustees board chairman.
“We could break ground in April,” he said.
At issue is a township garage that was completely destroyed by fire in July 2016. The blaze also cost the township every piece of road and mowing equipment and an assortment of tools. The cause of the fire remains undetermined, officials have said.
Trustees have methodically replaced equipment as insurance payments are received. The township has acquired a wheel loader and a used backhoe to complement trucks and mowing gear acquired in the months since the fire, said trustee Dennis Huey.
Next step is the garage, which will be erected on the same spot on Cemetery Road. Cost of the building has been estimated between $400,000 and $450,000, Brunell said. That money will get the township a building that measures 130 feet-by-60 feet, or 7,800 square feet, much larger than the 4,400 square foot garage it will replace.
The garage will have six bays for equipment and a seventh space to be used as an office/restroom/lunch room, Huey said.
The larger dimensions of the new building will come in handy, Huey said.
“It gives us a lot more room for working on equipment,” he said. “(The garage) will meet the needs of a modern township.”
The all-steel building will closely resemble one recently constructed by Plymouth Township, Brunell said.
“We liked that design and layout,” he said.
Once plans are completed, the documents will be passed to the Ashtabula County Building Department for review, Huey said. Once approval is given, the project can be offered for bid, he said. At least four contractors are interested in the work, Huey said.
A new septic system on the site is also being planned, officials said.
Trustees are hopeful the upcoming winter will be the last without a township garage.
The township is renting storage space on the former county home parcel on Route 84 from the county and will continue that relationship, officials said.
The new equipment should see the township through another snow season, Huey said.
“We have enough to get us through the winter,” he said.
Road superintendent Neal Stewart and his crew were able to successfully tackle a number of projects this year, including chip-and-seal work on Dibble, Creamer and Fox roads, Brunell said.
“(Fire losses) makes things more difficult, but it really hasn’t slowed us (down),” he said.
Huey said he understands some residents’ impatience, but dealing with insurance claims on such a scale is a “process that takes time.”
“We can't hurry it,” he said.
Last year, trustees hired a consultant to deal with the township’s insurance carrier. The dollar figure of the total loss is still being computed, Huey said.
“We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty,” he said.
(c)2017 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)
Visit the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio) at www.starbeacon.com.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.