County roundup: Nelson says ‘slow down,’ plus news from Mantua, Hiram, Freedom, Windham and Garrettsville

Nelson Township trustees at their May 17, 2023 meeting. Ryan Lind/The Portager


A Nelson Township resident who lives on Kyle Road voiced a complaint recently about speeding vehicles on Kyle.

“There are more vehicles moving quickly,” township Chair Mike Kortan said. “There’s been a lot more foot traffic there, too, as people have been moving into the area. We’re just looking at safety for pedestrians and people riding bicycles.”

Any unmarked township or county road in the state of Ohio has a speed limit of 55 mph.

“Most people don’t know that,” Kortan said. “We’d like to think we can get the speed limit on Kyle down to somewhere around 35-40 mph.”

If there is anyone in the township who would like to have speed reduced on their road, contact Kortan at 330-503-1893.

The township road crew has completed all of the chip-and-seal work from the overlay work it had done on Kyle Road, Hopkins Road, Fenstermaker Road, Kennedy Ledge Road, Hobart Road, Pritchard Road and Reynolds Road.

“That’s roughly seven miles,” Kortan said.

The Nelson Township website — — is still under construction but is up and running.

“Right now, there’s general information and contact information,” Kortan said. “There was a website years ago, but I don’t know what happened to it. This is a new and improved version.”

Mantua Township

The Mantua Township Black Brook Water Study has been completed and approved by the Ohio Department of Safety and Ohio Emergency Management Agency. The township’s trustees are expecting to get final written approvals from both organizations. Once the final paper is received, the township will move forward to begin searching for additional grants to control flooding in the township. Folks can see the final report at

With road maintenance season starting, the township will be doing crack repair and sealing in preparation for its chip-and-seal program. The trustees and road department are very proud of the township’s roads.

“If you ride through Mantua Township,” township Chair John Festa said, “you will see the results of our fine service and our road department’s efforts.”

Township trustees approved two energy-saving projects that will be paid for by using their NOPEC grant money. The recently purchased service department garage will be getting a 3-inch-thick foamed ceiling with fire coating. Also, a project to install a new reconfigured, insulated street-level entrance to the Mantua Township Civic Center is underway, including a commercial-rated insulated door with panic hardware. The Civic Center was originally constructed in 1840.

Treasure in the Trunk is a consolidated garage sale that will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2 at St. Joseph Catholic Church at 11045 St. Joseph Blvd. The church opens up its parking lot, and you can bring your car in with items that you would like to sell.

Westlawn Cemetery improvements are underway. All cemetery roads and parking areas are being paved.

Four roads are already finished, and the others are scheduled to be completed this week. Pearson Surveying has been contracted for lot plotting in the last section of the cemetery. The township’s trustees are also considering adding a new columbarium section for ash burials.

Anyone with an interest in what is happening in Mantua Township need not look any further than the official Mantua Township website: Tons of information such as current announcements, promotions, officials’ contact information, facility rentals, videotaped trustees meetings, policy, news items, events and much more are all available there.

Village of Mantua

The Mantua Potato Festival, celebrating its 50th anniversary, will take place Friday, Sept. 8 to Sunday, Sept. 10 at Buchert Park. The festival will start Friday evening and go all day Saturday and Sunday. There will also be a parade Sunday that will start and end at the park. The festival will feature food vendors, alcohol, music, and small rides and games for kids. A highlight of the event will be the 44th annual Potato Stomp consisting of a 9-mile run/walk, 4-mile run/walk and 1-mile run/walk.

The annual Poker Paddle fundraiser sponsored by the Mantua Rotary Club will take place Saturday, Sept. 16. The race starts at Camp Hi Canoe & Kayak at Hiram College, and you paddle your canoe or kayak down the river to Buchert Park. As you travel down the river, there are different stops in which you collect playing cards, and the person with the best hand at the end of the race wins a cash prize. Contestants can bring their own canoe or kayak, or canoes and kayaks can be rented at Camp Hi. The fee to register is $25. To register, visit

A Farmers and Makers Market will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25 at the Granary Building on East Prospect Street next to Jake’s Eats.

The Crestwood Community Pep Rally and Parade will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 at Crestwood High School at 10919 Main St.

Hiram Township

Two resolutions were passed at a special township trustees meeting Aug. 7: to have the road and bridge replacement as well as the fire and EMS replacement levies on the November ballot.

Hiram Township’s chip-and-seal work has been completed for this year. Half of the township’s roads are done every other year.

Village of Hiram

The Hiram and Garrettsville police departments held a car show Aug. 5 in downtown Hiram. There were between 30 and 40 cars entered in the contest. A 1932 Ford Coupe won the Mayor’s Award.
“The car show was a success,” Mayor Lou Bertrand said.


The Freedom Community Picnic will be held at noon Sunday, Aug. 20 at the Freedom Town Hall Pavilion at 8966 State Route 700. Hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, condiments, drinks and table service will be provided. Everyone is asked to bring a dish to pass. Church service will be held inside this year at the First Congregational Church of Freedom at 8972 State Route 88, starting at 10:30 a.m. A Bounce House will be available for kids of all ages. For more information, call Tom Mesaros at 330-245-6061.

The Freedom Community Park Boosters will host a fall festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 at Freedom Town Hall. The event will feature entertainment, crafters, vendors and a car show along with the famous Cow Chip Bingo.

The Hankee Road culvert is complete. Meanwhile, a contractor has been chosen and work will start at a later date on the Asbury Road culvert replacement.

The ADA project for new parking spots, front steps and a new sidewalk at the Freedom Township Historical Society is moving forward. An architect has been chosen.

The township’s trustees asked Portage County Recycling to survey Freedom residents for their thoughts on joining the curbside recycling program. Those cards should be mailed out shortly.

The new plaques for the war memorial/honor roll are due shortly. A dedication is being planned for sometime in late September.

Village of Windham

Two awards were presented at the Village of Windham’s National Night Out event Aug. 1 at the Windham Village Community Center. Windham Township Chair Rich Gano received an award for his seven years as the Windham Joint Fire District fire chief (Gano was in the business for 41 years). Also receiving an award was Wayne Blair for his 27 years as a WJFD firefighter and intermediate EMT. Both men recently retired.


The Garrettsville Police Department showed one of its new cruisers to village council members.

“They wanted to show village council what it’s paying for. Everybody was pleased and amazed at the technology that we’ve come to on that,” Mayor Rick Patrick said. “It’s been a long time coming. We got the car in January but the problem was, like with everything else, getting the equipment.”

The paving projects on Center Street and Water Street were recently completed.

Roger Gordon
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