Hilliard Northwest News

Guest column

Township to mark bicentennial with personal touch

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COURTESY OF NORWICH TOWNSHIP
Norwich Township firefighters (from left) Dick Ellwanger, Mike Massie and Denzil Collier took a moment in 1972 to pose with Hilliard elementary students. Norwich Township employees historically have had a close relationship with residents, and current officials want to demonstrate that personal touch during the township's bicentennial celebration. An open house Saturday, April 27, at the Safety Services Building, 5181 Northwest Parkway in Hilliard, will kick off the festivities.
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Editor's note: Over the next several months, the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News will run historic Norwich Township photos and guest columns by township officials in honor of the township's bicentennial celebration. Mildred Brooks, the township's administrative assistant since 2009 -- and secretary to the Norwich Township Fire Department prior to that, wrote the first installment.

The year 2013 marks Norwich Township's 200th birthday, and I have been assigned the task of showcasing our township during the bicentennial celebration.

To better understand Norwich Township -- and the 1,307 other townships in Ohio -- a brief history lesson is in order.

The Pilgrims brought the township form of government to America in 1620, and it was used in the following years as much of America was carved out of the wilderness.

In Ohio, township government predates state government. Township sizes and shapes were determined by acts of Congress, which established various land grants. As the Ohio Territory became populated, the land was surveyed into townships.

For those who don't know, Norwich Township is west of Columbus. Hayden Run Road is the northern boundary, Interstate 70 to San Margherita is the southern boundary, the Scioto River is the eastern boundary and Alton Darby Creek is the western boundary.

In 1804, the elected officials of a township consisted of three trustees, a clerk, two overseers of the poor and a sufficient number of supervisors of highway, in addition to a justice of the peace and a constable.

Norwich Township's three trustees are Chuck Buck, Larry Earman and Tim Roberts and its fiscal officer is Jamie Miles. They are elected to serve four-year terms and work on a part-time basis.

Kate Cavanaugh is the township administrator. She oversees the day-to-day duties for the township trustees.

Norwich Township has a fire department that was established in 1942. At the helm of the department is Chief Robert Kaufman, who oversees 85 firefighters and three fire stations that provide emergency medical and fire protection services for the city of Hilliard and Brown and Norwich townships.

Steve Montgomery is sexton of the Wesley Chapel Cemetery on Dublin Road, which has existed since 1835. The earliest known grave is that of Mary Ann Humphries, who died Aug. 8, 1836.

Montgomery also serves as the township's road superintendent.

The personal knowledge these local officials have about their community and its needs enables them to offer township citizens a more personal service than any other form of government.

Township officials are planning several events to illustrate that personal touch during the bicentennial celebration.

The first event on the schedule is an open house from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 27, at the Safety Services Building at 5181 Northwest Parkway in Hilliard.

The open house will feature displays of historic memorabilia and firefighting equipment. Firefighters also plan to conduct tours of Fire Station 81.

Some health-education activities also are planned.

This summer, township officials plan to have a float in the annual Hilliard Fourth of July parade.

In the fall, township officials are putting together a history walk at Wesley Chapel Cemetery.

Stay tuned for more details about these upcoming events in the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News.

Mildred Brooks serves on the township's bicentennial committee. She has lived in Hilliard for more than 20 years with her husband, Robert.

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