Board approves plaque to honor donors

by Dan Holland

Aug. 22 Richfield Joint Recreation District board meeting

The board re-visited the request by the Friends of Richfield Heritage Preserve to allow a plaque bearing the names of those who contributed $500 toward the restoration of Kirby Mill to be displayed at the Lodge.

Board member Maureen McGinty and new park director John Piepsny had excused absences from the meeting.

At the July 25 meeting, Lynn Richardson, secretary of Friends of Richfield Heritage Preserve, said the RJRD board in September 2018 had approved hanging the plaque in the lobby of the Lodge at the Preserve. 

“There was discussion in meetings in 2018 about having [the plaque] in the Lodge, but we haven’t been able to find any documentation of that [approval],” said board chairperson Anita Gantner. “One of the important issues was that the donors to the mill were apparently told that there would be a plaque that would be put up in the Lodge.”

“It seems that it would make more sense to have a plaque affiliated with that project,” said board member Mike Selig. “I understand the previous discussions, and that agreements were made. But it sounds like a better compromise to have a plaque adjacent to the structure that the donations were provided for.”

Board member Jeff DeLuca said the Lodge is usually closed to the public and a plaque displayed at Kirby Mill would be more available for public viewing. He suggested additional funds be approved to purchase a plaque suitable for the outdoors.

Corey Ringle, president of Friends of RHP, said that an outdoor plaque would cost approximately 40 percent more than a similar indoor version.

“For me, this is about consistency and honoring what we’ve told people,” said Richardson. “For future projects and future recognitions, maybe all of those different options would be great. But in 2018, RJRD voted to have a plaque inside the Lodge, and that’s what we have been telling our donors.”

“I was there in 2018, and we did vote on it and agreed there would be a plaque,” said board member Sandy Apidone. “But this lodge was going to have an entry foyer where the plaque was going to be displayed, and we obviously don’t have that here.”

Board members unanimously passed a motion to have “donor recognition in some form on a plaque somewhere in Richfield Heritage Preserve.”

Committee reports

Dave Wehner, chair of the governance committee, suggested the board might consider increasing insurance coverage on the restored mill wheel, with the Friends group contributing a portion of the premium increase. Wehner stressed that RJRD would make all decisions in the event of an incident.

Wehner said the RJRD continues to work with Oviatt House Inc. to find the best method to obtain the Ohio capital grant funds that the group was awarded.

DeLuca also reported that NorthStar Contracting had re-sealed a portion of the dam wall that had been seeping at Lower Lake.

The attached rear building section of Garfield Lodge, previously used as a kitchen area by the Girl Scouts, was recently demolished and removed.

DeLuca also discussed erecting a temporary light pole at the front of the Lodge that could potentially have two security surveillance cameras mounted atop that would help light the main parking lot.

Following discussions, Aqua Doc’s treatments for algae blooms on Lower Lake will be postponed until next year, Deluca added.

Mark Robeson, chair of the marketing and communications committee, reported that the group would develop messaging related to the strategic planning initiative once it is complete. The group is reviewing changes to its e-newsletter format and production processes, managing its social media channels and also reviewing marketing technology.


The board approved a request from Richfield Village to provide an easement across the RHP property so a sidewalk could be constructed along Broadview Road, leading to the Giant Eagle store. Apidone voted against the approval for safety reasons. “I’m concerned for pedestrians’ safety only because people fly through here. Even with flashing lights, that’s not going to slow them down. That’s my only concern,” she said.

In other action, the board approved:

• Providing paid holidays for full-time employees for the remainder of 2022.

• Making changes to the records’ retention policy.

• Leasing 1,000 feet of space in the Winter Barn to Richfield Brewing Company for storage at a cost of $400 per month.

Administrative Coordinator Polly Wheeler reported that the park office coordinated logistics for several park activities, including cross country team practices and scout training. They also developed a flyer and games for Richfield


Ringle reported that installation of the restored water wheel at Kirby Mill was scheduled to begin on Aug. 29.

More than 130 guests attended Kirby Day on Aug. 20, and more than 40 attended an architectural tour of historic homes and other buildings on Aug. 21.  

Ringle also reported that the trash, latrine and firewood crew has contributed 544 hours of service at RHP so far this year.

Volunteer coordinator Susan Czaplicki reported that volunteers cleaned up wood and debris at Garfield Lodge following demolition of the rear building. They also patched holes and painted the ceiling in the bridal suite at the Lodge. Dave Kalal removed cabinets and installed an accent wall inside the Lodge.

Two Eagle Scouts and their teams installed a chimney swift tower in the Upper Lake meadow and two wooden duck boxes in the Upper Lake.

The Pruett family and others replaced damaged bench tops. Students from Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School measured benches in the park.

The “One in a MILL-ion Celebration” will be held at the Lodge on Sunday, Oct. 16. ∞