JACKSON – The members of the Jackson Township Council have appointed 10 residents to the new Rova Farms Advisory Board.
The advisory board will give residents a chance to help decide the future use of the Rova Farms property in the Cassville section of Jackson.
The members of the advisory board will assist and advise Jackson officials in implementing and planning the future use and development of the Rova Farms properties that have been purchased and/or may be obtained in the future.
Township Council President Martin Flemming, Vice President Andrew Kern, Councilman Alexander Sauickie, Councilman Nino Borrelli and Councilman Stephen Chisholm voted to appoint the members of the new advisory board during the April 12 meeting of the governing body.
The following residents were appointed to serve on the advisory board from April 12 through Dec. 31: Matthew McCall, Ethan Noble, Paul Novello, Vinnie Rubio, Theodora Noordzy, Marlene Novick, Alyssa Agoston, Alla Long, Victor Sevenko and Elenor Hannum.
Sauickie said municipal officials identified 10 individuals “who are willing to give their experience, their passion for this town, (and) most importantly, their time to help provide input on how Rova Farms will transform into something positive for the entire town.”
He said although the panel members are a diverse group of individuals, “in general, we were looking for people with a background in education because as we felt from the beginning, there should be an educational component as well as an historical component.
“In addition, we were looking for residents who live near or had ties to what Rova Farms was in its heyday. We have members who worked in the Rova restaurant, one who was a camp counselor, representation from the Jackson Pathfinders, representation from St. Vladimir’s congregation and many who lived within a mile of the property,” Sauickie said.
The members of the advisory board will serve on a volunteer basis.
“This is an opportunity for everyone in this diverse group to come together and channel some positive energy into what the governing body hopes will become a jewel in town, again, for all residents from all parts of town to enjoy,” Sauickie said.
In 2019, Jackson officials purchased 34 acres for $600,000 at 120 Cassville Road. The land was previously connected to the Rova Farms property. Municipal officials said the land was purchased for preservation purposes.
Rova Farms dates to the early 20th century when an initial 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 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.