Poland Village residents can take pride in a new facility that costs nothing to taxpayers. A seven-bay addition at the road department was completed and now houses the village's police cruiser fleet.
"We saved a ton of money doing some of the work ourselves," said police Chief and Road Department Superintendent Russ Beatty. "In fact, the whole project was completed using drug money."
Poland Village has an officer assigned to the county's drug task force. When the officer goes on a raid, it entitles the village to a share of confiscated funds and materials. That gave the village the funds to complete a seven-bay addition onto the road department garage that will house the fleet of five patrol cars and two undercover vehicles.
Poland Village Police Chief Russ Beatty stands in one of the seven bay doors that will house the village police vehicle fleet. The new addition was put on with no cost to taxpayers.
To start the project, Beatty said he needed blueprints for the addition. His father, Russ Beatty Sr., is an architect and he volunteered his services. Once approved, Beatty hoped to get bids from local contractors to construct the addition.
"I try to use all local guys," Beatty said. "I believe we should keep it local when we can."
He used several local contractors including Dennis Hollisky for the building erection, Bob Magni with RLM from Western Reserve Road for electrical, Sharniga Plumbing from Poland, and Sam Cimenero's Great Garage Doors for the seven weatherproof bay doors. The village road department crew pitched in to finish the walls in particle board.
"Particle board was used because when it is painted, it offers a surface that could take water splashes when washing the police vehicles," Beatty said. "It won't absorb water like drywall would."
Money was also saved pouring the entrance. Beatty said there was a $3,000 difference between using concrete versus blacktop. The long pad in front of the bay doors is eight inches thick and has been sealed to prevent deterioration from road salt.
Only the walls remain to be painted and some heating work is to be done yet. The new facility is already housing the police vehicle fleet, which Beatty said is a good thing. He said the cruisers are now equipped with computers and other vital electronics that will be out of the cold weather.
The big issue for Beatty is the fact the entire building was paid for by confiscated drug money. It wasn't the first time the village has made out on being part of the drug task force. The Road Department also has an old brick Quonset hut that was poorly lit. After Poland Village officers assisted with a drug raid on a marijuana grower, they were able to get the growing lights for free. The lights simulate sunlight and now give road department employees a better environment to check over their equipment before hitting the streets.
Beatty also said the maintenance crew for the village vehicles does a lot of in-house work to keep the fleet and equipment going strong. He was able to purchase an old Ford pickup that was outfitted with a box bed and generator. He said it can be used during a power failure to keep traffic lights operating.
Once in a while, the police or road departments has to upgrade to a newer piece. This season, the road crews will be using a new leaf vacuum that will replace an older model that broke down. That vehicle will hit the streets this week as leaf pickup in the village begins. Leaves picked up will be taken to CVS Top Soil to be used as compost.
As for other vehicle and equipment, the maintenance garage will continue to handle repairs and keep the departments' vehicles running the best they can. It's all about saving money by doing it themselves.
"It's a small budget in the village," Beatty said. "We have to make our stuff last."