Jackson council members approve open space purchase

JACKSON – Members of the Jackson Township Council will purchase a 4-acre parcel on Cassville Road in the Cassville section of the municipality and preserve the tract as open space.

The parcel to be purchased adjoins the historic Rova Farms property municipal officials purchased for preservation as open space.

During a meeting on Oct. 13, council President Alexander Sauickie, Vice President Andrew Kern, Councilman Martin Flemming, Councilman Ken Bressi and Councilman Stephen Chisholm voted β€œyes” on a motion to adopt an ordinance authorizing a 4-acre expansion of the Rova Farms property.

In March 2019, council members authorized the purchase of 34 acres at 120 Cassville Road that was previously connected to Rova Farms.

Rova Farms dates back to the early 20th century when the first wave of Russian immigrants purchased 1,400 acres in 1934. The Russian Consolidated Aid Society of America paid $50,000 for the land and the money was collected from thousands of Russians who were coming to America, according to a Washington Post article published Feb. 6, 1977.

Two Russian Orthodox churches were built and children were taught to speak Russian as the immigrants sought to keep the culture of their homeland alive. Those associated with Rova Farms were working class individuals, primarily craftsmen and laborers, according to the article.

The 4-acre parcel on Cassville Road that will be added to the open space tract contains a single-family home. The sellers are Sergey and Natalia Titovich, who advised Jackson officials they were willing to accept $575,000 for the property, according to a resolution.

Kern said the council members are continuing their commitment to residents to preserve open space in the community.

During the 2020 election, residents are being asked to approve an increase in Jackson’s open space tax rate. Money raised through the open space tax is used to purchase and maintain open space parcels.

Officials have proposed increasing the open space tax rate from 2 cents per $100 of equalized valuation to 3 cents per $100 of equalized valuation for the acquisition, development, maintenance, preservation and payment of debt service for conservation, recreation, farmland and historic properties and structures. The increase in the tax rate would fund additional acquisitions and improvements of open space by the township.

With an open space tax rate of 2 cents per $100 in place, the owner of a home that is assessed at $250,000 currently pays $50 per year in an open space tax. The owner of a home assessed at $350,000 pays $70 per year. The owner of a home assessed at $450,000 pays $90 per year.

If the open space tax rate is increased to 3 cents per $100, the owner of a home that is assessed at $250,000 would pay $75 per year in an open space tax. The owner of a home assessed at $350,000 would pay $105 per year. The owner of a home assessed at $450,000 would pay $135 per year.