Boardman trustees at odds over fire station ads

BOARDMAN — Township Trustee Elaine Mancini believes that a request for proposals for design of a new fire station required a vote of the board.

There wasn’t one.

The township is running an advertisement in The Vindicator and on, The Vindicator’s online edition, requesting qualification statements for architectural services for the main fire station on U.S. Route 224.

“In the past, we worked with the administrator and the department head involved on any of the architectural needs for a department,” Mancini said.

A consultant then helped ensure the language and specifications were properly worded.

The language then was approved by trustees, Mancini said.

Last month, Administrator Jason Loree asked trustees to authorize him to advertise for RFPs for the fire station project. At that time, Trustee Kathy Miller said she preferred to wait for completion of a report on recommendations to improve the township’s appearance.

That report came last week.

Miller said she believes she followed the appropriate procedures in running the legal advertisement.

“If we did it wrong, we’ll have to fix it,” she said.

Trustee Robyn Gallitto couldn’t be reached.

Mancini also disagrees with some of the elements in the ad.

Included on the township’s Web site is a questionnaire for prospective architectural firms to complete. It refers to the planning report on the township’s future issued last week.

The report was completed by the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative at Kent State University. It followed a two-day public input session where residents could provide their ideas for the township’s future.

“The board of trustees would like to see as part of the request for design services how the firm will incorporate suggestions that were made” during those sessions.

The report says that the new fire station should be designed as a “signature work or architecture to establish a strong identity for the township...”

Mancini said she views the fire station and the report on the township’s appearance as separate.

“The need of the township is for a fire station,” Mancini said.

The condition of the main fire station, built in 1926, has been an issue for a few years.

In early 2005, MS Consultants of Youngstown estimated the cost for a new station at the U.S. 224 site at $4.1 million.

That report examined the feasibility of renovating vs. rebuilding the station. Part of the reason for the high cost estimate was keeping the station operating while work to rebuild was ongoing.

Fire Chief James Dorman has advocated keeping the main station at the U.S. 224 location, citing the number of calls in the area surrounding it.

The latest ad also says that a new station will be at the same location.

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