SALEM, Ohio – With a building lease expiration looming and office spaces shrinking, several Stark County ag agencies area packing their bags and moving into an entirely new facility.
Those employed in the offices of the county soil and water conservation district; USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency; OSU Extension; and Ohio Department of Natural Resources division of soil inventory and evaluation will move from their current offices in the county.
In addition, 19 workers from the USDA’s Rural Development office in Wooster will join them.
The move will also save some agencies the rigamarole of remodeling of their current offices to meet code for the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to Andy Bayham, Natural Resource Conservation Service district conservationist.
Details. Their new home will be at the entrance of an industrial park off Richville Drive near Massillon, just north of U.S. Route 30.
The one-story, 14,000-square foot building will house nearly 40 employees, including soil scientists and a natural resources engineer.
All together. Each agency will have its own suite but will share a conference room and kitchen area, Bayham said.
Plans are pending to have the agencies share a single phone number. That would make it easier for county residents to make one phone call and reach several agencies.
“The whole idea is one-stop shopping,” Bayham said.
“We’re all here together. If someone brings in a tree branch and asks me what it is, I can [point them] down the hall to the extension office,” he said.
Better. Dennis Weilnau, extension agriculture agent for the county, predicts positive results from the move.
After splitting from Summit County, the new extension office will house Weilnau, an agriculture and natural resources agent; David Crawford, 4-H agent; an office associate and two nutritionists.
Those employees will no longer have responsibilities in Summit County, Weilnau said, freeing up time to work on programs.
“I’d like to offer more evening classes, but that’s up to the funding,” Weilnau said.
The Summit extension staff is slated to move to 2525 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls, in early January, according to Weilnau.
Excited to move. Each agency seems excited about the upcoming move.
Although the agencies may be moving across the county from some of their users, the new office is accessible by major roadways and will be “easier to find than the old place,” conservationist Andy Bayham said.
The extension center, currently located “back the long lane behind the pond” at the Akron-Canton airport, is hard to find, Dennis Weilnau said.
“The place isn’t in the center of the county, but it’s in the population center,” Weilnau said.
Closer to their roots. Users of the USDA Rural Development office will also see benefits.
Many of the 19 employees there used to work out of field offices in Salem, Carrollton, Jefferson and Ravenna, according to area director John Miller.
The move will put them closer to the areas they left when offices were consolidated years ago.
“I’m excited about this. It’s an ag center. We’re near the PBS store and TSC. Farmers can stop there and then come here for FSA, Extension, everything,” Weilnau said.
Getting started. Contractors were working on footers, drains, wiring and other infrastructure as of press time.
Bayham said he’s been told the building should be under roof by the end of the month. Interior work should be completed for move-in in March.
All but the extension and Rural Development agencies are currently housed at 2311 Columbus Road N.E., at the edge of Canton.
The extension office, shared between Summit and Stark counties, is at 5119 Lauby Road, North Canton.
The Rural Development office is at 5200 Cleveland Road, Wooster.
(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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