Mantua's flag will fly again

By Rachel Hagenbaugh | Staff Writer Published:

As part of a larger project to spruce up Mantua, residents are in the first stages of saving the oldest public structure in the village from disrepair, the flagpole anchored in front of Village Hall, 4650 High St.

"It was at the point where it was going to be torn down because it wasn't safe," said Edie Benner, president of the Downtown Mantua Revitalization Committee, which is working with the village council to repair the structure. "We figured it was either take it down or fix it up."

The flagpole, which is attached to a four-legged lattice made of steel is approximately 125 feet tall, said Tim Benner, a member of the fire department.

The structure is about 100 years old, said Jim Oster, chair of the Mantua Flagpole Tower Project, a task force of six citizens dedicated to making sure the flagpole gets the improvements it needs.

In 1915, a fire bell, which was eventually turned into an electric siren, was built inside the flagpole. A flag hasn't flown on the pole for many years, Oster said.

"Our role is to try to get it looking better and structurally sound," he said. "The pole either has to be brought up to date or we need to replace it."

The flagpole will need to be inspected before the committee decides what repairs need to be made and how much it will cost. It will need to be painted and Oster said private funding and the revitalization committee will help make the changes possible. A couple years ago the police department and fire department began to review the necessary modifications to the structure, but due to a lack of funding, the project was put on hold.

Benner said the committee has talked about lighting the structure and making it an icon for the village.

Since the revitalization committee was founded four years ago, it has been dedicated to preventing buildings from going into disrepair and improving the village's economy.

"We're following the main street approach like Kent did, just on a small scale," Benner said. "We want to preserve the historic buildings and prepare for the future."

While there was no question about restoring Mantua's flagpole, the future of Ravenna's 150-foot flagpole, built in 1893, remains unknown. Ravenna Township trustees, which maintain the structure, delayed demolition to give residents the opportunity to raise the $150,000 needed to restore it.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1123 or rhagenbaugh@recordpub.com

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