July 2, 2016

Partly cloudy

Past is prologue

SHARON TWP. — The bell on top of Sharon Town Hall, built more than a century ago, will ring out by the end of the year when the building is renovated for the first time.

Sharon Town Hall, 1274 Sharon Copley Road, dates from 1848 and will retain the same look on the outside after its interior is renovated to allow for modern amenities, township trustee Brian Guccion said.

“The biggest thing is keeping it true to the original while renovating it,” Guccion said. “We want to keep it the same because it is in the historical district, but we want to add modern amenities.”

Small historical details, like signatures of Sharon residents written along the walls of the bell tower, some of which are 150 years old, will be preserved. A hammer mechanism will be added to the bell so it will ring without having to be swung back and forth, Guccion said.

The most noticeable change will be a handicap-accessible elevator so people can move easily to all floors of the two-story building without having to choose between two outdoor handicap entrances that lead to the basement or the main floor, Guccion said.

The heating and cooling system will be brought up to code, as will the electrical system.

“We’re going to wire it so we can handle modern-day technology like audio-visual equipment, and … emergency power through a generator that will be installed at a later date,” Guccion said.

The roof was repaired about five years ago and will not need to be replaced. The last improvement to the building was insulation installed about 20 years ago, township trustee Ray Lurtz said.

Construction bids for the project will go out Thursday, Guccion said. The building will be closed during construction, which is expected to begin in mid-April and finish by Oct. 1.

“This is … specialty work,” Guccion said. “The renovations will be very detailed.”

Lurtz said the project will cost approximately $380,000. The township has been saving for it for several years. Although money will be taken out of the general fund, township trustee Kim Bolas is working to secure grants to partially fund the renovations, he said.

“This has been in the talking stages for a long time,” he said. “There will be no new taxes because the township has accumulated the money over a period of years.”

Lurtz said that a township cannot legally spend more than $10,000 on a single civic project without voter approval. In 2009, voters overwhelmingly approved Town Hall renovations by a vote of 1,473 to 484.

“Town Hall is a symbol of our township, and keeping the motif of Town Hall is important to our community,” he said.

Township business will not be affected by the renovation. Township business and meetings are conducted in the township administration building at 1322 Sharon Copley Road.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.