NILES, Ohio (WYTV) – Last month, Niles City Council started talking about the possibility of annexing parts of Howland and Weathersfield townships. On Wednesday, community members got to weigh in with their thoughts.
“I’m on both sides of this, as a resident and as the president of the club,” Dan Padula, Jr. said. “I am not only looking out for my interest, but I am looking out for the membership of the club as well.”
Padula is a Weathersfield Township taxpayer but he’s also the president of the Western Reserve Fish and Game Association.
Fifteen acres of the club currently lie in Weathersfield Township.
Padula is responsible for nearly 300 members.
“We have a lot to lose here because of the unknown,” he said. “Basically, we don’t know what land they plan on taking. So we come down and we said, ‘Hey, we’re here’ and with 280 to 290 members, we have a voice.”
Padula was at the meeting Wednesday to let Niles City Council know his club just celebrated a 100-year anniversary. If it is annexed, it might not have another anniversary.
“Niles has an ordinance that prohibits the launching of any projectiles inside of the city,” he said. “So if our property in Weathersfield Township — the club’s 15 acres — is annexed into the city, our club is effectively done. They will shut us down.”
About two dozen other concerned residents lined the back wall of the McKinley Library with signs reading “FIGHT THE GREED.” They took turns addressing council.
Howland Trustee Dr. James LaPolla, Jr. was there, along with Weathersfield Trustee Steve Gerberry.
“We just want to continue to work well with them,” LaPolla said. “Be good neighbors, resolve any issues before they get any further.”
Howland and Weathersfield have combined to seek legal counsel out of Columbus to fight this annexation.
“We have engaged legal counsel in the preparation that there may be a need for them,” LaPolla said.