Zach Salapack, Bolivar Resident Sets The Record Straight

The mayor has never answered the question of what part of their analysis shows how much tax revenue would be lost in the village due to decrease in home values due to the noise, dust, and pollution caused by hundreds of trucks daily driving straight through Bolivar from I-77 to the proposed pit. Furthermore, the mayor and members of her council have downplayed the number of trucks continually as conjecture from fearmongers. 200 trucks was the number given by Massillon Materials in their permit application. It's their number, not ours. Those two hundred trucks don't magically disappear once they go into the pit. They have to go back out, so that number of 200 is potentially doubled because they can't make it under the railroad underpass on the west end of town. Our homes are our investments, and the standard response has been "trust us, we've researched it". The company line is that a multi- hundred heavy truck route won't adversely our home values. It completely defies logic and insults our intelligence.

The mayor likes to paint us as simple folks who can't draw a distinction between a Dairy Queen and well run senior care center (Hennis) and a gravel pit. One serves ice cream and average fast food, one takes care of our aging friends and family, and one creates a major trucking route through the middle of a neighborhood. Any rational person can do this simple exercise, but the mayor acts like it is an apple to apple comparison. In what parallel universe is objecting to a gravel pit through the middle of our neighborhood an objection to "progress"?

The process that led us to where we are at was never a true process with the villagers interest in mind. The purchase agreement between Mr. Wenger and the Villiage of Bolivar, which was procured through a public records request by concerned villagers, shows that contractually the mayor and council were called upon to be duplicitous in their support from the get go. The language spells out that the land will be annexed from Lawrence Township (which expressly prohibits sand and gravel mining operations), that the land will be re-zoned from agricultural to heavy industry, and that the proper conditional use permits will be issued. Furthermore, in a trade publication Mr. Wenger's attorney asserts that they have no objection to three three public readings, public comment, and a 30 day period to pass any ordinance. However, the mayor and council subverted this process by declaring an emergency vote, thus eliminating the need for three readings, public comment, and possible referendum

The video of this is available on, where in five minutes an entire village lost their right to discuss a course altering decision. We were systematically excluded as a matter of strategy, not a matter of emergency. The emergency was that it was becoming public knowledge in the village what was being orchestrated, and the mayor, the council, and the money man correctly surmised that the village would object to the matter. This "process" is why the villagers had to successfully petition for a ballot initiative. Comically, the village attempted to stick its head in the sand and not even accept the petition language before it was circulated or the overwhelming results of it. They literally refused to physically accept its existence before they realized that they had no choice. Lastly, in a Nov.9, 2012, Canton Repository article that the land in question would be used for houses and a business building. The language in the purchase agreement, which pre-dates the newspaper article, directly contrasts that declaration.

The villages plan was to always expedite and deliver the zoning and conditional use permits. While some of the reading is a bit tedious, it explicitly spells out the village council and mayors promised support on all issues and obstacles. It's a classic case of disputing a notion based solely on its wording and not its merit.

Then councilwoman and now village clerk Maria App said that Bolivar didn't need to have a plan until the land was annexed. Not true and completely misleading. They always had a plan.

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