A Ravenna Township ordinance pledging $10,000 to ensure a match to save the iconic Ravenna Flagpole is a welcome gesture, but to call it a donation instead of an allocation is a stretch of the definition of the word "donation."
We state that because Ravenna Township owns the flagpole. How does setting aside $10,000 for the benefit of its own property constitute a donation, let alone a matching one?
We appreciate the dilemma of the township. It has limited funds. The flagpole in front of the Portage County Courthouse, is badly in need of repair. The township owns the flagpole. Were it not that the flagpole is one of few remaining representatives of steel-box lattice construction in the United States, it probably would make sense to replace it with a traditional steel tubular pole.
Because it has some historical significance, a group of volunteers calling itself Friends of the Flagpole has formed and is more than halfway toward raising the estimated $150,000 needed to repair and maintain the structure. The Ravenna Township trustees, appreciative of the volunteer effort, have postponed the flagpole's demolition and now, laudably, they have come up with a $10,000 pledge, which in reality is an allocation, not a donation.
In that context, it probably does not qualify to be the matching donation that banker Don Wilson III, a Connecticut resident who grew up in Ravenna, specified he wants as a match for his own generous $10,000 pledge.
Nevertheless, the township money is certainly welcome and very much needed. Trustee Patsy Artz has said because of the conditions of Mr. Wilson's pledge, it will be necessary to revisit the ordinance. We hope that means the township will guarantee a $10,000 allocation to save the Ravenna flagpole.