Outdoor drinking in Garrettsville is nearing approval

A photo of the road sign at the Garrettsville border
Carter Eugene Adams/The Portager

Garrettsville is considering establishing a Downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area, which would allow patrons at area restaurants to consume alcohol outside. The DORA would include parts of Main and South streets.

There were no comments at a May 12 public hearing to establish the DORA, but one person posted a comment on the village council’s YouTube page: “Does Garrettsville really need more public intoxication? When is the village going to address the drinking and driving that’s happening?”

Council did not respond to the comment at the hearing. They’re poised to approve the DORA at a special meeting set for 4 p.m. May 19.

Emergency dispatch contract

As the end of its five-year dispatch contract with Mantua nears, Garrettsville Village Council is proceeding carefully as it eyes a potential contract with the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.

Switching dispatching services to the sheriff’s office would save the village $55,000 a year, and would bring all dispatching services — police, fire and EMS — under one roof, Council President Tom Hardesty said. Going with the sheriff’s office would also mean a one-year contract instead of the five-year agreement Garrettsville has had with the Village of Mantua.

Anxious to retain Garrettsville’s contract, Mantua Mayor Linda Clark has indicated that she could reduce contract costs to some extent, Hardesty said. However, he noted that since Mantua’s equipment is old, their service could “go down” at any time.

“If we do in fact go with the sheriff’s department, the contract, rather than being effective Jan. 1, 2022, Tim [Christopher, Garrettville’s police chief] prefers to make it effective Dec. 1, 2021, so we have a month of overlap because we don’t want to take and try out the new system on New Year’s Eve,” Hardesty said.

The month-long learning curve would ensure a smooth transition, he said.

Council will continue to investigate its options.

Road paving and recycling

Council accepted a bid from Chagrin Valley Paving to resurface Park Avenue, High Street, Wolff Drive and Garfield Drive.

Though one resident encouraged council to use the money it saved on paving to get curbside recycling in the village, council stated that any money saved will go toward other paving projects.

Council has not heard from Bill Steiner, director of Portage County Solid Waste Management District. As costs for central drop-off sites threaten to increase, some villages and townships have or are considering ending those contracts with the recycling center. Steiner has been considering regional drop-off sites, but so far Garrettsville has not been approached.

Council encourages residents to contact whatever trash hauler they contract with, and see if curbside recycling could be offered as an additional service.

FYI: Residents who want to recycle paper, as in newspaper, cardboard, waste paper, and magazines or catalogues, may use a recycling bin by the east end of the school bus garage. No glass, bottles or plastic.

Electric vehicle charging

If you’ve got an electric car, or you’re planning on buying one, northern Portage County is the place to be. Garrettsville Mayor Rick Patrick announced that the village received a grant to install two EV stations, enabling motorists to charge up. The stations will be in the lower parking lot by the police stations, hopefully by mid-summer. 

Tesla owners are out of luck, however, as those vehicles require a different kind of charging station, Patrick said.

Windham recently announced that it will install an EV station with funds from the same grant.

Other Garrettsville news:

  • Motorists, take care: Garrettsville will be replacing water main lines along South Street beginning this month, perhaps by Monday, and continuing through November. Traffic will be reduced to one lane, so motorists are encouraged to seek alternate routes.
  • Garrettsville will host a Memorial Day parade and two ceremonies on May 31. One service will be at 9 a.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial on Maple Avenue. The parade will start at about 9:30 a.m. and will proceed to Park Cemetery for the main service. The James A. Garfield marching band will perform at both services. Various organizations will present wreaths at Park Cemetery, where there will be speakers, and the Garrettsville VFW honor guard will present a rifle volley.
  • Council honored long-time Zoning Inspector Jan Boehm and businessman Larry Beatty for their service to the community. Beatty resigned from council in March to serve as the village’s new zoning inspector starting June 1. Boehm was the village zoning inspector; now she will serve on the village’s planning commission. Jerry Kehoe resigned from the planning commission after serving 18 years. Council selected Sheri Johnson to fill the vacant council seat.
  • Council also tweaked its zoning code to allow the village to bill property owners who are not maintaining their properties. While push has not come to shove yet, “we have a few derelict properties in town,” Mayor Rick Patrick said.
  • Council noted that even though the Village Hall flagpole is in bad shape, the village will not solicit donations to replace it. Having received a $1,598 estimate for a new 25-foot aluminum pole, council will continue to research prices.
  • In Garrettsville, summer means hanging flower baskets in the downtown area. Ohio’s weather being what it is, council said the baskets should be in place by Memorial Day. In another nod to warmer weather on its way, council will use its share of an annual Rotary Club grant to place bicycle racks along Main Street. 
  • But walkers, beware — at least for a short while. About a dozen boards on the village’s boardwalk are in bad shape and need to be replaced. Village workers are on the job.
  • Council is hopeful that grant money will come through for a necessary project at Tom Hardesty Park on Brosius Road. If approved, an ODNR NatureWorks grant would be used to install restrooms and a maintenance building at the park.
  • As pandemic fears recede, Garrettsville is joining other government entities in pulling the plug on livestreaming public meetings. As of July 1, all council, committee and commission meetings will be in person, as will public hearings.
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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.