Suffield Town HallIn 1802 , the community of what was later to be named Suffield Township was founded by Royal Pease, who was originally from Suffield, Connecticut. From 1802 until April 6, 1818, our community was known as Peasetown.  In 1818, the name was changed to Suffield Township and governing officials were elected.  Suffield is one of 18 townships in Portage County and lies in the southwest corner of the county.  We are uniquely situated in close proximity to Akron, Ohio to the west and to Hartville, Ohio to the south.  This gives our community a great mix of big city opportunities combined with rural charm.

With a population of 6,285 as noted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013, Suffield Township is a close knit community - a community where neighbors look out for one another and wave when passing on the road.  Township services include a highly trained Fire Department, led by Chief Robert Rasnick, providing fire and EMS protection to the township, as well as a hard working Road Department, supervised by Scott McBroom, that takes care of the roadways and other services related to the needs of  the community.

We welcome you to our community.  Please explore our website and see what Suffield has to offer.

After last week's private and public meetings on the future of the Pretty Glen Dam, the quick scheduling of a hearing by the Portage County Commissioners led most to believe that a decision on keeping the dam or removing it had been made.  However.....about ten Suffield residents attended a meeting today in which Commissioner Maureen Frederick spoke first and immediately announced that no decision on the issue had yet been made and further that the commissioners were committed to exploring all options, including options that hadn't even yet been proposed.  After this the Director of the Portage County Water Resources Department Eugene Roberts was given the floor for a very informative presentation on another option.  He started by saying that he had had a positive discussion with the City of Akron, who might be willing to allow a pipe from the Mogadore Reservoir to Martin Road for a dry hydrant for Fire Department use.  Roberts said that he had met with the Ohio EPA and that they had been receptive to working with the local residents.

 

Roberts, who only recently became the director of the Portage County Water Resource Department, had been Service Director in Kent for twenty years and was involved in the re-working of the large dam on the Cuyahoga River near downtown Kent and the removal of a dam along Plum Creek.  He addressed some of the residents concerns about the final outcome of the creek if the dam were to be removed.  In total bluntness, he said that the creek would be small and only a couple times a year the water would flow enough to allow for kayaking, and that the landscape would most definitely be different.  He also acknowledged that the odor from the newly exposed muck would last for about one year.  Roberts suggested that the natural creek bed could be moved from the south side of the valley to the north side and that small pools of water could be created along the stream.  

 

Also speaking was Todd Bragg, who is the Director of Budget and Finance Management for the commissioners.  He also had been in discussions with the Ohio EPA this week.  He and commissioner Kathleen Chandler clarified a couple important issues on the money side of the matter.  First was that the cost of removing the dam as presented by Shawn Arden of EMH&T last week was stated at $1,621,300 and was just an estimate by his own engineering firm.  If the commissioners act to remove the dam, there will be an actual bidding process with the work awarded to a company at that point.  The second thing cleared up was the actual estimated cost of dam removal.  Bragg said that simply tearing out the dam structure was fairly cheap, $300,000 to $400,000, and that the additional one million or so was to restore the area to as it was prior to the dam's construction in 1938.  

 

Bragg said that there were several grants available or dam removal and remediation of the stream bed, one of which has a deadline of August 31st.  This deadline is merely to allow the granters to know of the county's interest.  The actual application for monies available in 2017 comes later this year.  

 

Also brought up in this meeting was an admission by John Yeargin that his individual deed for his properties in the Spring Valley allotment does not actually include "rights" to use the Pretty Glen PondYeargin later found that a Covenant of Conditions and Restrictions, of which Patricia Everly had a copy, covers the entire allotment and has a specific section that calls for "valley lake rights" to all property owners.  It was suggested by Eugene Roberts that this legal claim may also be included in the tax platting for that area.   Maureen Frederick said that the county's legal department would check into this as she wanted to make certain anything done would be done in a legal manner.  Kathleen Chandler suggested that perhaps commissioners could set up a bus tour to other places that have had dams removed to see how those areas have fared.

 

The residents were given time to speak.  Patricia Everly, Carol Groh, Bill Daniels, Dave & Linda Barr and Kathy Rhoads all took the opportunity to speak on a variety of issues germane to the Pretty Glen Dam dilemma.  The topics of fish and birds was mentioned, lowering the dam in height to change its status with the ODNR, thus eliminating inspections, the valuation of property and, of course, an "expert on muck" Linda Barr told of how they had dredged part of the pond a long time ago and how it took more than three years for the muck to dry.  

 

Commissioner Maureen Frederick said that her concern is that the residents be treated fairly, but she acknowledged the county's lack of funds was a definite obstacle to overcome.  There will be more meetings to come.  Frederick suggested that residents could check with the commissioners agenda, which is posted on their website: www.co.portage.oh.us/commissioners.htm.    

 

Known to some as the Hills Pond Dam, the Pretty Glen Dam was built in 1938, about the same time that the Mogadore Reservoir was being built.  The reservoir was built between 1936 and 1939 as a project of the Works Progress Administration.  At the time, the Pretty Glen Dam was built to create a lake for residents in the adjoining Spring Valley allotment to use for recreation.  During the 1980's the City of Akron was attempting to spread its way deep into the suburbs through annexation, often employing availability of their water supply and system as a trade off for land.  In 1991 the Portage County Commissioners, Chris Smeiles, John D. Thomas and Janet Esposito, purchased the dam and approximately 33.78 acres.  This land is mostly on the west side and north side of the dam, and was bought in order to stop Akron's annexation drive toward the Mogadore Reservoir and the rich and industrially potential lands of Suffield Township.  Now about 78 years old, the dam is plagued by years of neglect and is subject to ODNR inspections that call for repairs or removal.  Thus the issue that now confronts the nearby residents, the county commissioners and Suffield Township as a whole.  

A group of concerned residents showed up at the Portage County Commissioners meeting room on Thursday August 18th to have their opinions heard on whether the Pretty Glen Dam should be removed or repaired.  Spearheading this group were Carol Groh and Bill Daniels, who both actually live on the shores of the Pretty Glen Pond, and John Yeargin, who lives nearby in the Spring Valley Allotment.

 

Pretty Glen Dam, aka the Hills Pond Dam, was originally built in 1938.  It was privately built and owned with the pond being created for the use of people that bought properties in the Spring Valley Allotment.  In 1991, the Portage County Commissioners purchased the dam, and some of the pond, in order to stop the City of Akron from annexing eastward into Portage County and Suffield Pretty Glen Dam 08 18 2016Township.  Recently, however, in 2012 the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) inspected the dam and determined that repairs were necessary.  In 2015, it was estimated the cost of these repairs would be about $56,000.  Suffield Township officials became aware of the situation and took steps to make sure the current county commissioners were aware that the dam and pond were very important to the township.  At that time, it was pointed out that water from the pond is used by the Suffield, Mogadore, Tallmadge and Brimfield Fire Departments.  It was also pointed out that residents living along the Pretty Glen Pond would likely experience a reduction in their property values if the pond was drained.  The county commissioners decided to table any further discussion on eliminating the dam and later chose to hire an engineering firm from Columbus to review the situation.  Evans, Mechwart, Hambleton & Tilton (EMH&T) recently submitted a finding to the county commissioners.  Oddly enough, EMH&T suggested that the cost to repair the dam was now up to about $1.5 million and the cost to remove the dam about $1.6 million.  Word and concern spread when it was reported in the Ravenna Record-Courier that grants were not available for repairs, but grant money was out there for dam removal.

 

In the meantime, residents of the Spring Valley Allotment have begun to organize a movement to save the dam.  Carol Groh hosted a gathering at her pond-side home to allow the property owners to hear the complaints and to make a plan of action.  A letter from the county commissioner had been sent to those property owners whose property actually bordered the pond.  During this session it was pointed out that there are 82 houses in the allotment and all these homeowners have deeded rights to use the pond.  Those residents, who have no actual pond frontage themselves, do have a public access point.  Also attending this meeting was Suffield Fire Department Chief Robert Rasnick.  He was clearly concerned about the prospective of losing access to the water now available in the Pretty Glen Pond.  He stated "I think it's insane" when asked about removing the dam. He also pointed out that the Mogadore Fire Chief, who couldn't be at the meeting, was also very much in favor of keeping the dam and the source of water.

 

John Yeargin pointed out that a tax map that he had obtained shows that a large portion of the pond is actually owned by the Testa Companies, who recently bought the old West's Mogadore County Club for development.  He and Chief Rasnick also mentioned that the Sunoco Company was very interested in the future of the dam, as they are dependent on the pond's pool for a certain percentage of the water that they are required to have access to.

But all that was on Wednesday evening.  The real event was Thursday evening at the county commissioner's 7th floor meeting room.  Before a packed room, Shawn W. Arden of the EMH&T Engineering firm started by talking about his firm's study of the area.  He mentioned that the ODNR had last conducted an inspection of the dam in 2012 and they would again inspect it in 2017.  The last several inspections had shown flaws, the most imposing was that the dam lacked "spillway capacity".  He then talked about the three "concepts" that were currently being proposed.  Concept #1 required that the entire pool of water to both the east and west of the dam be drained away so that the dam could be covered with "rolled concrete".  This would cost the county an estimated $1,414,110.  He said that at this time there were no known grants available to help with this cost.  Concept #2 would be to drain the pool of water and raise the top of the dam so that water does not "over-top" the dam itself.  This solution would come at an estimated price of $1,542,835 and again he knew of no available grants.

 

Concept #3 was removal of the dam and restoration of the land where water currently lies.  In this concept, there would likely be a small pool of water created near Martin Road so that a dry hydrant could still be located there.  Under this plan, the muck that fills the bottom of the pond, estimated to be two to six feet deep, would be piled to the sides of the stream bed for drying purposes and various forms of vegetation would be planted.  The cost to remove the dam was estimated to be $1,621,300.  However there are grants available to the tune of about $972,780, meaning this proposal would actually cost the county about $648,520.  Oddly enough, Commissioner Kathleen Chandler mentioned that the City of Akron might be willing to help out on this project, provided the dam was eliminated.  No clarification was given on this statement.  Mr. Arden's presentation was straight forward and very professional.  He said he welcomed public comment and on several occasions heard things from the audience that he had not learned in his evaluation process.  Mr. Arden said that any of the concepts would take about one year to finish.

 

After this presentation by Mr. Arden, the floor was opened for public comment and as expected, there was plenty.  As stated above, the commissioners were told of the need for water for fire suppression, the likelihood of lowered property values, the impact that removing the dam would have on the eco-system, and, of course, the questions on why the dam needed to be taken out after 78 years of peaceful existence.  Suffield Township trustee Tom Calcei asked how removing the dam would improve the eco-sytem as Mr. Arden had stated.  Mr. Arden admitted that removal wouldn't necessarily improve the eco-system, but would merely change it.  While the residents were polite in their questions, some of the questions put the commissioners on the defense.  John Yeargin and Bill Daniels both asked if money had been allocated over the years for routine maintenance, which, if done, would have kept the dam in acceptable condition when inspected by the ODNRCommissioner Maureen Frederick admitted that this was not the case.  The only time that the crowd seemed to grow testy was when Maureen Frederick read a letter or e-mail from a woman who is in favor of removing the dam.  The crowd, who had to give their name each time they spoke, was upset that Frederick refused to name this woman.

 

Near the conclusion of the meeting, Maureen Frederick said that, when taking into consideration potential federal or state grant money, the difference in cost between repairing the dam or removing it would be one of the big factors in their final decision.  One interesting point that was raised by Mogadore Fire Chief John Cain was the time lines for applying for and getting grants.  Mr. Arden said that of the two grants he is familiar with, one has a filing deadline in September and the other in December.  When Maureen Frederick was asked when a decision on the dam would be made, she said she wasn't sure.

08-09-2016.....A group of about eight neighbors from the Sunnybrook Road area came to the Trustees Meeting to voice concerns about the derelict property at 2412 Sunnybrook Road.  Chief spokesman for the residents was Larry Jacobs who asked what was being done by the trustees about the situation.  Vice Chairman Dave Vartenuk said that the Portage County Health Department had asked the township to hold off on further actions until they (the Health Department) had the opportunity to do further investigation into matters that allegedly involved disposal of raw sewage.  Vartenuk said that it was important to get this derelict house town down and the septic filled, but it was of utmost importance to do it legally.  He suggested to the crowd of newcomers that they check when the Portage County Health Department was meeting and go attend that meeting to ask questions and ask that the Health Department move forward with their end of the process as quickly as possible.  Vartenuk noted that before a house can be demolished, it must have failed inspections by the Portage County Health Department, the Portage County Building Department and the Suffield Fire Department.  In addition to these criteria, various notifications need to be made, or at least attempted, and finally a court order issued by the Portage County Commons Pleas Court.  As stated before, ridding the community of a derelict property is an arduous and time consuming task.

Trustee Jeff Eldreth said that the Road Department has completed its "chip & seal" project for this year with the improvement of almost six miles of township roads.  He also said that the painting of lines on these and other roads would be done sooner rather than later.  Eldreth said that the Palm Road paving project should begin in the next week or so. 

The status of the recycling issue was asked and Eldreth said that approximately 65% of the cards that were returned were in favor of getting curb pickup of recyclables.  A number of questions about this whole process were asked.  From the questions and the response, it was apparent that more study will be necessary before a decision on recycling is made by the trustees.

Zoning Commission Chairman John Yeargin spoke briefly on the status of the Pretty Glen Dam, aka Hills Pond Dam, situation.  Yeargin had attended a Mogadore Village Council meeting on Monday where the old West's Mogadore County Club was rezoned to a new classification specifically for that property.  He learned that, as expected, the property along the ridge on the south side of the Pretty Glen Pond was slated for high-end housing and that the pond was an important feature to those lots.  He felt that the Testa Companies would likely agree with Suffield Township officials that keeping the dam was in everyone's best interests.

The Trustees earlier postponed their normal August 23rd meeting, due to it falling during the week of the Randolph Portage County Fair.  It has been reset for Tuesday August 30th at 8:00 PM.  The Zoning Commission does not meet in August and there are no Board of Zoning Appeals hearings in the works.     

 Memphis Cradle 08 05 2016 A

FRIDAY 08-05-2016......Above is the Memphis Cradle playing on Friday night at the Suffield Music Festival.  The great weather brought out a big crowd on Friday evening.  The festival continues on Saturday with a car show at 10:00 AM and music beginning at 12:00 noon.  The music lineup is Suffield Station at 12:00, Product of the Environment at 1:30, Humbucker Blues at 2:15, Freez-R-Burn at 4:45, My Drunk'n Uncle at 6:45 and Vicious Cycle at 9:30.

 

SATURDAY 08-06-2016......The Suffield League Music Festival closed out another year, their 15th annual gathering, with a standing-room-only crowd late Saturday evening.  Blessed by great summer weather, after early week predictions of showers on the weekend, the band Vicious Cycle performed their Lynyrd Skynyrd act to about 400 enthusiastic patrons.  Festival chairman Tom Calcei said that the magnificent weather, coupled with some great acts and a whole lot of work by a number of dedicated Suffield League volunteers made the weekend a huge success.  He also said that they were blessed to have a larger than normal group of corporate sponsors.  Proceeds from the event help to fund community-based endeavors, such as the annual Memorial Day Parade, Christmas With Santa, the Children's Easter Egg Hunt and by providing flags for the community on the appropriate holidays.

 

Mickey Marozzi Portage Co Engineer

 

 

 

Advertise yourself, your business or where you work by sending us your business card.  We will put it in the section above on the title bar that is entitled "Business Cards".  There is no cost to you, and the card will remain there until you ask that it be taken down, or when you ask us to replace an old card with a new, more up-to-date card.  You can e-mail the card to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or snail mail it to Jeff Childers, 229 Waterloo Road, Suffield, Ohio 44260. 

In June the Portage County Historical Society gave Suffield resident Pat Mettle its prestigious "Preservation Award".  Pat is a long-time Suffield resident and wife of the late Suffield Fire Department Chief Gene Mettle.  Both Pat and Gene are legendary in the community and are especially known for their time and efforts to help found the Suffield Historical Society and make it Portage County's best historical society and museum.  Suffield Historical Society president Judy Calcei issued the following statement:

"The Suffield Historical society is proud to announce that Pat Mettle along with her late husband Gene was awarded the Preservation Award by the Portage County Historical Society at the annual Historical Society Forum in June. The Preservation Award is given to recognize those members of local historical societies who have contributed to the preservation of local history. Pat along with her late husband spent countless hours collecting photos, articles, and memories from local Suffield residents. All of these were carefully displayed in notebooks which document much of the history of Suffield Township and are currently housed in the Suffield Historical Society museum. The Mettle's provided the impetus for the start of the historical society here and their contributions in preserving our history are invaluable. Gene always hoped for a place to house and display artifacts from Suffield's past. Unfortunately, he passed away before he could see what others did to make that dream a reality. When completed, the first phase of the remodeling of the historic fire station was dedicated to Gene. Pat has continued her efforts to share her knowledge of local history and serve in many capacities for the historical society."

Upcoming Township Events

 

 

Suffield Fire Pancake Breakfast 2016

Fire Department To Hold Annual Pancake Breakfast

The Suffield Fire Department is holding its annual Pancake Breakfast at the Fire House on Labor Day Monday September 5th from 8:00 to 11:00 AM.  Hope to see you there!

Suffield Lions Club imageLION'S CLUB Presents Community Movie Night on September 10th

The Suffield Lion's Club is having a "Community Movie Night" on Saturday September 10th at 7:30 PM.  The movie to be screened is The Jungle Book and is rated PG.  The show is free to the public and will take place at the Lion's Club Park, 1128 Waterloo Road (Next to the elementary school).  Concessions will be provided.  Bring the family out to see a movie and meet with your Suffield neighbors.

 

Senior Lunches Available

The Family and Community Services of Portage County in conjunction with the Suffield United Church of Christ offer lunches to Seniors at the church Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 AM until 12:30 PM.  Lunch requires a donation and must be ordered one week in advance by calling Beverly Miller at 330-877-3965.

 

Spring 2016 Historical Society Newsletter Is Here!

Read the lastest Suffield Historical Society Newsletter, which was recently published.  At the bottom of this page, click on "Society Newsletter" to see the latest volume and past volumes.

 

 

 

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Wingfoot Lake State Park

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Wingfoot Lake State Park is Suffield's only park.   It was opened by the Ohio State Parks & Recreation Department in 2009.  Goodyear had operated the park since the 1960's as a private playground for its employees and for corporate retreats.  As the company footprint grew smaller in the Akron area Goodyear decided to close the park in 2006.  To learn more about the park, such as rental of the facilities, visit the park's website:  http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/wingfootlake

Town Hall Rental

The historic Suffield Town Hall can be rented by residents and non-residents for various events.

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Emergency & Assistance

Who to contact in case of emergency and assistance when you need it.

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Historical Society

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A great opportunity for community involvement, and many free activities for everyone!

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