NEWTON FALLS PRESERVATION FOUNDATION
PRESERVING THE FUTURE, TODAY
Founded in June of this year, the Newton Falls Preservation Foundation (NFPF) is a non-profit organization recognized under Chapter 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
We are committed to the preservation of our local historic architecture and cultural heritage through education, collaboration, advocacy and stewardship. Through these efforts, we hope to ensure the preservation of our history and landscapes while at the same time enhance the quality of life and opportunities for our citizens, residents and their children.
Currently, there are four primary initiatives:
Re-Open the Community Center
Beautification of our river banks
Enhancement of parks
Preservation of historic buildings
We look forward to building a partnership with the Newton Falls Village Council to implement procedures to protect and preserve these resources for appropriate use by our citizens.
With the completion of these projects, we can foresee a positive impact on our entire community.
RE-OPEN OUR COMMUNITY CENTER
Earlier this year, a decision was made by the Newton Falls Village Council which devastated many long-term and culturally concerned residents. The Council elected to close the Community Center, one of our beloved landmarks. Originally built in 1946 by the USO as a gathering place for our military, this building has continued to serve as a social meeting place for countless public and private functions. There is significant importance to this endearing and historic building that urgently requires its preservation.
There are 37 acres, or about 3% of total land in the Village used for park and recreational purposes. The largest single component of these recreational resources is Community Park. This park contains 19 acres which represents about half of the total recreational space available in the Village. (1) As we all know, the Community Center is located on the property.
The Trumbull County Planning Commission prepared and presented the Newton Falls Comprehensive Plan in 2014. This plan encouraged enhancing the Community Park by obtaining additional land, adding amenities and parking to meets the needs of our residents far into the future.
To-date, the Community Center has had one structural evaluation. We propose a second inspection by Trumbull County Building Inspector, to identify all hazards, construction issues and concerns within and around the building that currently stand in the way of re-opening this multipurpose facility and cornerstone of our community.
Once this second report is completed, the Newton Falls Preservation Foundation will plan to meet with the Village Council to identify specific projects which the Foundation is prepared to address.
This includes but not limited to covering a portion (or possibly the total cost) of the repairs and/or restoration. We are ready, willing and able to offer volunteers with the skill sets and expertise to tackle the needed repairs and/or renovations, (appropriate certifications or licenses will be required for the skilled labor.) discuss sources of funding with the Village Council and, working with the Village Manager, usher this project to completion.
ENHANCING OUR PARKS
BEAUTIFICATION OF OUR RIVER BANKS
As part of our mission, NFPF is committed to preserving and protecting the historic and cultural resources in the Village of Newton Falls and surrounding township. These resources include our numerous public parks as well as historic and scenic views along our river banks.
This objective cannot be successful without the collaboration between the Village of Newton Falls, dedicated volunteers and guidance from appropriate local, state and federal agencies.
It is important for all communities to maintain open space for the enjoyment and well-being of their citizens. Due to the gradual, but long term deterioration and lack of immediate funding, our parks appear to be in poor condition. We plan to independently evaluate and access the current conditions of all ten (10) parks as soon as practically possible. A report listing of repairs needed and proposed enhancements will be prepared and presented to the Newton Falls Parks and Recreation Board.
With the Village’s collaboration, the NFPF will make a commitment to provide the necessary volunteer labor and funding for specifically identified repairs and/or enhancements to each park.
Our open natural areas and riverbanks are closely associated with our history and culture and should be preserved and maintained for our community.
Early settlers were attracted to the area by the good water supply provided by both branches of the Mahoning River. The falls provided a power source for grist, woolen, and saw mills. The canal briefly influenced the economy by providing residents access to markets until the railroads appeared.
In 1835, work began on the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal which extended from a point South of New Castle through Mahoning, Trumbull and Portage Counties to Akron and then connected with the Lake Erie and Ohio River Canal. This waterway was eighty-two miles long using the natural flow of the Mahoning River directly through the Village of Newton Falls. The first boat passed through to Akron in 1840. (2)
In 1929, the Stevens Mill was located on the west bank of the west branch of the Mahoning River. The Hoyle Woolen Mill stood where Veteran’s Park is today and directly across the river stood the Eagle Mills. The Porter Mill and Lowery Mill on the east bank of the Mahoning River were eventually sold to Peerless Electric Company of Warren. The formation of a related Hydro-Electric Company was reported in the Newton Falls Tri-County News in April, 1908. (3)
These same historic riverbanks are worth safeguarding with sustainable preservation strategies and environmentally sensitive development. Protecting our scenic views and minimizing alterations to the natural function and productivity of the river system could generate several recreational opportunities.
Clean-up, additional plantings, and easy access to the river will allow for more open space and encourage utilization by the community. By restoring the lighting and replacing vegetation or planting native species, we will emphasize our historic “Falls.” The NFPF is willing to take an active role in enhancing our riverbanks by furnishing the necessary volunteer labor as well as fully underwriting this project. A formal proposal will be presented to the Newton Falls Parks and Recreation Board for consideration as soon as practically possible.
PRESERVATION OF HICTORIC BUILDINGS
We are also devoted to the long-term preservation and maintenance of its historical buildings and important community sites.
The structure and focus of today’s historic preservation was codified with the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966. The preservation of irreplaceable heritage is in the public interest so that its vital legacy of cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, economic, and energy benefits will be maintained and enriched for future generations. (5)
The State of Ohio has already identify at least 300 structures that are 100 years or older in our immediate area. According to the Trumbull County Planning Commission, we have six hundred (600) houses that were constructed prior to 1939. The Commission has recommended that we “Prevent the unnecessary loss of historically significant homes”, “Work with the State Historic Preservation office to identify and evaluate historically significant structures” and “Support programs to guide preservation or rehabilitation of locally significantly historic homes”. (4)
The Trumbull County Historical Society has a Historic Building Recognition Program as part of its mission to preserve historic properties in Trumbull County. The application along with more information can be found on their website at trumbullcountyhistory.org. We are willing to assist any home or building owner within the Village and surrounding township in completing their application. In addition, we will pay for the fees of the first ten (10) homes that qualify for this recognition.
Our primary initiatives could be a daunting task and we have only scratched the surface of the bountiful history that exists in our charming small town. We believe that working alongside state and local preservation organizations, collaborating with our Village Council and the support of passionate and dedicated volunteers . . . anything can be accomplished.
(1) The 2014 Newton Falls Comprehensive Plan published by The Trumbull County Planning Commission.
(2) History of Newton Falls by Ella A. Woodward, 1942, revised 1977
(3) Fragments of History of Newton Falls and Newton Township, Ohio “A Collection of Nineteenth Century Historical Writings by Dr. James F. Porter” by Wendell F. Lauth and The Friends of the Newton Falls Public Library, 2003.
(4) The 2014 Newton Falls Comprehensive Plan published by The Trumbull County Planning Commission. Section: 10 – 19, Objective: H3, Policy H3.1 and H3.2.
(5) Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
The Newton Falls Preservation Foundation is committed to the preservation of our local historic architecture and cultural heritage through education, collaboration, advocacy and stewardship.