RJRD extends contracts for work at lower lake dam

by Dan Holland

March 28 Richfield Joint Recreation District board meeting and work session

The Richfield Joint Recreation District board approved a resolution for an extension through April 30 for NorthStar Construction to complete concrete work on the lower dam and spillway at Richfield Heritage Preserve. A separate resolution authorized a change directive not to exceed $29,297 for Gannett Fleming engineering to continue providing construction administration and inspection for the project.

Board members Sandy Apidone, Mark Robeson and David Wehner all had excused absences from the meeting, which was held in the Richfield Village Council Chambers.

Board chairperson Anita Ganter said Gannett Fleming has worked well beyond the 22 weeks that were budgeted for the project. “They didn’t charge us for the number of weeks that they’re over to this point, but they need to do so going forward, as the project isn’t scheduled to be completed until the end of April now, and they can’t continue doing the work without billing us for more,” Gantner explained

Jeff DeLuca, board chair of the operations and capital improvements committee, explained that the extensions were necessary due to work delays caused by recent weather-related events including frigid temperatures and three separate flooding events.

“One of the floods actually damaged part of the dam, and they had to remove some new concrete that they had already poured and reattach the new forms,” he explained. “They’re not charging us for the damage.”

Gantner reminded the board that a previous change directive for concrete work performed on the upper lake dam not to exceed $40,350 came in at just under $23,000 upon completion. In addition, a previous directive for repairs to the walls of the lower lake dam not to exceed $12,400 was converted to a change order for $8,102 upon completion.

“If we get good weather and everything falls into place, that number [$29,975] will be lower. It just can’t exceed that number,” added DeLuca.

Committee Reports

Under operations and capital improvements, DeLuca reported that water well used for The Lodge was in violation of state-mandated EPA requirements.

“We needed a certified operations person on staff once a week for a half hour each day during which they have to manually check the water well and the system,” DeLuca shared. “We’re classified as a Class A water source, and so there were provisions that we needed to do that we didn’t know we needed to do.”

RJRD hired Jennifer Jenkins, a licensed operator, part time to monitor the well on a regular basis to make sure it falls within the requirements going forward, he added.

Under fundraising/grant writing, chair Mike Selig said the group discussed various ODNR grant opportunities, deciding to focus on a Nature Works Grant, with an April 15 deadline, to request funding to replace the metal footbridge over the upper lake dam.

“My impression is that it’s not a safety issue, but rather more of a desire to improve access and aesthetics of the bridge,” he shared via email. “With that being said, although it is still safe, given its current age, I would be concerned about how long it will remain so.”

Occupancy permits

DeLuca reported that he recently toured several RHP buildings with the Richfield Fire Department and the Summit County Building Department to discuss seasonal occupancy permits for the Classroom Building, Kirby House, Chagrin Valley Cabin and Gemini Cabin. The park currently has a memo of understanding with Baldwin-Wallace University to use the latter two facilities as classroom space, he added.

To receive a seasonal permit the park would be required to install smoke detectors, improve entrance accessibility, provide hand-washing stations and better access to nearby latrines, said DeLuca. In addition to being used for classroom space, the buildings could serve as a less expensive rental option for groups when The Lodge is booked or cost-prohibitive.

In other action, the board members:

  • Accepted a bid for polishing and staining approximately 1,300 square feet of concrete floor in the kitchen and bridal suite areas of the Lodge. Cheetah Floor Systems of North Royalton had a low bid at $5,216.
  • Approved applying for an ODNR Nature Works Grant to fund replacement of the metal footbridge over the upper lake dam. The grant will require a 25% match, with replacement cost estimates ranging from $40,000 – $75,000 and possibly higher.
  • Recognized and thanked Kathy Donchess for volunteer services rendered to RHP since 2017 as its social media coordinator. She resigned from the position in March.
  • Established a special donations fund for RHP. Monies could be drawn from the fund to pay for special projects in the park, according to Gantner.


Volunteer coordinator Susan Czaplicki reported that volunteers completed interior and exterior cleaning and maintenance projects at Garfield Hall, Kirby House and The Lodge. In addition, a number of fallen trees were cut up and moved, and trash and debris were removed from the park entrance area and along Broadview Road.

As part of an Eagle Scout project, Eddie Orzel built four picnic tables and four sets of trash can brackets.

Corey Ringle of Friends of RHP reported that, since January, the group’s trash, latrine, and firewood crew has contributed 192 hours. The invasive species crew removed a concentrated infestation of barberry in the pool area.

Volunteers also cleaned under the exposed slab at the Kirby House basement, shored up underneath the dining room buffet and removed large quantities of dirt from the basement.

Staff changes

Gantner reported that the board had received seven applications for candidates seeking to replace former Park Director David Green, who resigned in March to take another position.

Lodge registry

Event Planner Shari Green said a gift registry has been created for the Lodge. Donors can purchase a particular item or donate toward an item on the list to better equip the facility for weddings and other events, said Green. Donations will be accepted until May 15. ∞