By Stacy Turner
Photos courtesy of Mantua Restoration Society, Inc.
The Villager – If you’re a community-minded individual who is looking to help make a difference for fellow residents, than the Mantua Township Trustees want to hear from you. They’re looking for your help to transform a historic gem into a vibrant community resource. You may remember that late last year, the Portage County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) was asked by Township Trustees to solicit community wants and needs regarding the potential renovation of the Mantua Center School property.
As a part of the RPC project, community meetings were held to give residents an opportunity to voice concerns about the structure, and to suggest ideal uses. The Mantua-Shalerville Chamber of Commerce members were also asked to provide their input as well. In addition, area realtors, local colleges, and social service agencies were contacted with regard to possible use of the building. In the end, the RPC report concluded, “The school building sitting mostly vacant is not serving the community and is costing the Township valuable resources. Unquestionably, this has become a divisive issue in the community.” The report continued, “As a long-time landmark, being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the restoration of the school building should be and can still be a rallying point in the community.”
To that end, Trustees are soliciting letters of interest from residents and area professionals to volunteer for committees created to support the continued use of the building. Mantua Township Trustee Victor Grimm stated, “We’re looking for individuals and professionals to work with us to turn the underutilized building into an even greater resource.” According to Grimm, the initial four committees will include Building and Grounds Needs Assessment; Funding; Volunteers, Sponsors & Resources; and Building Utilization. Individuals should send a letter of interest, including their qualifications and choice of committee, postmarked by July 29th, to the Trustees attention at: 11611 Mantua Center Road, Mantua, OH.
Sealed letters will be delivered to Director of Regional Planning, Todd Peetz. The Trustees will rely on Mr. Peetz to make appropriate committee appointments, which will be announced at the August 21st regularly scheduled Trustee meeting. According to Peetz, “I’ll be reviewing volunteers’ letters to match the interested parties with their ideal committee, based on their experience and abilities. My goal is to place people in roles that will utilize their best abilities.” Any questions can be directed to Trustee Grimm at (330) 274-2850.
“This is a great opportunity for the local community to get involved and work together to continue to make the School an asset to their community,” Peetz concluded. For an opportunity to see the School, visit on Tuesdays from 9 am to 4 pm, when the public is invited to attend ‘Community at the Center.’