ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Colerain Township trustees are getting ready to show off the new garage complex they were able to purchase thanks, in part, to a $500,000 donation.
Trustee Jeff Gazdik said an open house at the new site, located at 70730 Crescent Road, St. Clairsville, is slated from 1-4 p.m. Oct. 17.
“Refreshments and door prizes will be given out. We welcome residents to stop by for a tour of the facility. The old township garage is in the process of being sold to a local business,” he said.
Gazdik said the township had been saving money to make renovations to its existing building, located on Hells Kitchen Road, which is 73 years old.
“Around Christmas of 2020, after a difficult year with COVID and forcing the trustees to move their monthly meetings to a bigger hall (Barton VFD Social Hall) for social distancing, a phone call … changed so much for Colerain Township,” Gazdik said.
“A donor asked what Colerain Township could use. It was like a call from Santa Claus. The trustees made a wish list but wasn’t sure how much money the township would receive. It was soon learned a check for $500,000 would be wire transferred into the township’s general operating account.”
Fiscal Clerk Vince Gianangeli explained he had reached out to a man he knows who was retiring from a company and “he asked if there was anything they could do for the township.”
“‘I said, ‘Well, we would appreciate any donations because we would like to get a new building.’ We couldn’t even hold all our equipment. We had a grader, trucks and some equipment had to remain outside. We had been talking for a couple years about trying to find a new site for the township.
“I mentioned that to this guy who was retiring, and he mentioned that he might be able to get a substantial donation. He had a budget line item that had not been used,” Gianangeli said.
The result was the $500,000 donation.
Gianangeli said the township had been saving money for years with the idea of building a new garage somewhere. Though the trustees had already saved $311,000, Gianangeli said the trustees assumed they would eventually have to get a loan to help cover the remainder of the cost — whatever it might end up being.
Before buying the new building, Gianangeli consulted with a Columbus-based attorney about what township money could be used for the balance of the purchase. He learned the township could use general fund and road and bridge fund money since the building contained both office space and garage space.
Not long after receiving the donation, the trustees approached a businessman about selling his garage that was recently up for sale on Crescent Road.
“He was told about the plans to move all the township equipment to a new facility with more room. An agreement was reached and the purchase was made on July 7, 2021, for $811,000,” Gazdik said.
Between the money it had saved and the donation, the township did not have to seek any additional financing to make the purchase.
“More space was needed to house a grader, tractor, backhoe, and three trucks. All of our equipment could not fit under roof at our former building,” he noted.
The new building has 8,400 square feet of space and sits on 5 acres of land. It includes a meeting room, garage, office and storage rooms, along with a two-bedroom apartment that the township eventually plans to rent.
The township’s first facility was located in the former Barton School gym. In 1971, the township moved to its second location on Hells Kitchen Road, where it stayed for 50 years before purchasing the new building.
During those five decades, the township made several improvements to its structure, including painting it several times. The roof was replaced and windows, a furnace and radiant heat was added to the garage about 10 years ago.
Gianangeli said the township takes care of about 42 miles of roads with some being paved and others gravel. It has two full-time road workers. The township is also charged with grass cutting at two cemeteries — Lynwood and Farmington. It hires two seasonal workers to cut the cemeteries.
“We’re very thankful we’re able to receive this donation from a company that wants to remain anonymous,” Gianangeli said.