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Published: Sunday, 4/10/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Memorial honors 7 tornado victims

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Seven pillars are part of a memorial plaza in front of the township's new administration building. Seven pillars are part of a memorial plaza in front of the township's new administration building.
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Bricks salvaged from Lake Township's tornado-destroyed offices now form the base of a monument angled in the direction of that devastating storm's path.

Black granite will grace the monument, along with a brass plaque with the names of seven people whose deaths were caused by the tornado-producing storm that struck northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan almost a year ago. Seven fiber-glass columns representing the victims stand nearby. Shaped in a "V" to represent the tornado, the memorial at its widest point spans 20 feet, 10 inches, a number designating the year of the tragic storm.

Other memorial measurements signify the date and time when the tornado ravaged Lake Township: 11:30 p.m. June 5.

"It's the darkest day in Lake Township history, and we want to preserve it and remember it so future generations remember too," said Lake Township Trustee Richard Welling.

The $38,000 memorial designed by Normand Associates Inc. of Perrysburg will greet those entering Lake Township's new administration building, a roughly $2.3 million project expected to be ready for police and other township employees by mid to late May.

Along the front of the building is a colonnade representing Lake Township's residents.

"The people are the reason the township is there," said architect Jeff Normand of Normand Associates. "You go through the people to get to the township offices."

Construction workers Ron Vidra, left, and Paul Langdon install a door  inside the new Lake Township administration building. It replaces one destroyed by a tornado that struck the township June 5, 2010, and killed seven people. Construction workers Ron Vidra, left, and Paul Langdon install a door inside the new Lake Township administration building. It replaces one destroyed by a tornado that struck the township June 5, 2010, and killed seven people.
THE BLADE/LORI KING Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Mr. Welling said a memorial ceremony and grand opening of the 27925 Cummings Rd. building are to be June 4 or 5.

The township hired Normand Associates as the architect and Rudolph/Libbe Inc. of Lake Township as general contractor for the replacement structure.

Among other amenities, the new township building has a safe room to use as a shelter if another tornado strikes. Upgrades, such as a long-lasting steel roof, will put the final cost beyond the $1.7 million the township received from its insurance claim, Mr. Welling said.

Donated labor and materials from Rudolph/Libbe, Normand Associates, and other businesses have lowered the cost of the memorial to $18,000, said Joe DiMasso, project superintendent for Rudolph/Libbe.

The building is completed, but furniture needs to be ordered, landscaping finished, and paving done, officials said. Installation of information technology systems and telecommunications also are yet to be completed, said Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer.

The township's dispatch center will remain in a former Ohio Highway Patrol building, which the township bought more than a year ago to house emergency medical services, Chief Hummer said. The Lemoyne Road building has been the police department's home after temporarily sharing space at Northwood Police Department after the tornado.

The township building cannot have a radio tower because it is close to Metcalf Field, so keeping the dispatch center at Lemoyne Road will save more than $800 a month for telephone lines, Chief Hummer said. Plus, it makes sense to keep police and dispatch separate in case of another tornado or other disaster, he said.

"We'll always have someplace to go," Chief Hummer said.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at: jmckinnon@theblade.com or 419-724-6087.



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