Land donor questions length of time to get signage

by Chris Studor

Sept. 20 township trustees meeting

In December 2021, longtime Hinckley resident Charles Gibson donated 22 acres of his family’s farm on State Road to the township to be used as a permanent conservation area. One of his contingencies was that the township provide a sign identifying the property, valued at $225,000, as a permanent conservation area and that as the donor, his name appear on the sign.

Gibson expressed frustration during the Sept. 20 trustees meeting with how long it is taking to get the sign up.

“It’s been nine months and I’ve not seen much action,” Gibson told trustees. “While I am not a member of ‘Keep Hinckley Rural,” it’s a group that is encouraging land donations for conservation.”

Gibson said he prefers the sign be easily read by motorists in both lanes of travel on State Road.

When Gibson first announced the donation last year, former Trustee Jim Burns applied for a grant to cover sign costs. As Burns did not get re-elected, the project was turned over to Trustee Jack Swedyk.

“I inherited the task of acquiring the signage as part of my liaison assignments,” said Swedyk. “Issues having higher priority took precedence at the beginning of the year, such as preparations for road work, winter operations, and the comprehensive plan audit. I began to address the signage acquisition as time permitted.”

Swedyk noted that Burns had been looking into a historical marker for the Gibson property, but after looking into it, “it became apparent that the property characteristics did not meet the criteria to qualify for that grant.”

“I then met with Mr. Gibson and explained the issue with the grant and he agreed,” he said. “I suggested some signage similar to the MetroParks signs, thinking that style would be a better fit for the property instead of the historical sign type and Mr. Gibson agreed.”

Swedyk said he and Gibson prepared a draft of the content for the sign face at that meeting and said he made numerous attempts to contact MetroParks to see if the township could use the same contractor.

“Subsequently, I obtained two quotes for signage but the one preferred by Mr. Gibson utilized pine boards which I felt would not have the longevity and low maintenance that the township would prefer,” Swedyk said, adding that he and Gibson recently met with the sign contractor to request an updated quote using a more durable material.”

Trustees also voted 2-1 to support the resolution from the Medina County Economic Development Corporation schedule for tax abatement. If approved by the municipal entity, tax abatement is traditionally 50% over 15 years.

Trustees Melissa Augustine and Swedyk voted in favor of the resolution supporting the tax abatement program. Trustee Monique Ascherl voted against it.

At the previous meeting, Ascherl presented a new tax abatement schedule, which among other changes, would allow for tax abatement of businesses valued at $1 million or less, “in order to provide some incentive for mom-and-pop businesses, which most residents say they support.”

Trustees also recognized Lt. Dan Landis who has served 25 years on the Hinckley Fire Department.

Fiscal Officer Martha Catherwood said she’s never met anyone who is as committed to the township of Hinckley as Landis.

“He’s a quiet man who gave on a giant basis to the township,” she said.

Trustees also approved the appointment of Shelbie Palya as a probationary patrolman with the Hinckley Police Department . The appointments of Brad Polash as a firefighter/EMT, Jacob Bartinelli as a firefighter/paramedic and Tristan Battani as a firefighter/EMT were also approved and all three individuals were sworn into office. ∞