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Jackson hires firm to conduct asbestos survey at Rova Farms

JACKSON – The Jackson Township Council has hired T&M Associates to conduct an asbestos identification survey at the Rova Farms property on Cassville Road.

Council members took the action during a meeting on May 25. The contract with T&M Associates is in the amount of $9,650.

In 2019, Jackson officials purchased 34 acres for $600,000 at 120 Cassville Road. The land was previously connected to the historic Rova Farms property in the Cassville section of Jackson. Municipal officials said the land was purchased for preservation purposes.

Councilman Alexander Sauickie said the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 slowed progress on the township’s plans for the site.

“I am glad we have passed (the T&M Associates resolution). That is just one step of many that need to happen for Rova Farms to become what we expect it will be,” he said.

“There are two buildings on the property. The main and larger building where the asbestos study is being done is the former bar, restaurant and banquet hall.

“The other building, which is much smaller than the banquet hall, was more of a storage area presumably for water toys and other outdoor items.

“Both buildings are expected to be torn down and the asbestos study is a first and necessary step to getting there,” Sauickie said.

“In 2020, we purchased an additional 4 contiguous acres near the front of the lake and road to add to the first 34 acres we purchased.

“The hope is to preserve the history of the area and make it a park for all residents to enjoy. We will eventually solicit input from residents and draw up plans to that end,” the councilman said.

“The ability to make Rova Farms a really good piece of property and something the town is proud of going forward, I think is something that is possible, and I am glad to see us get back on track with that going forward,” Sauickie said upon the passage of the council’s May 25 resolution.

Rova Farms dates to the early 20th century when an initial wave of Russian immigrants to the area 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 at the site and children were taught to speak Russian as the immigrants sought to keep the culture of their homeland alive.

The people associated with Rova Farms were working class individuals, primarily craftsmen and laborers, according to the Washington Post article.

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