By Rick Palsgrove
Repairs to the flag pole rope atop Groveport Town Hall provided an opportunity for a Groveport Police officer to survey the surrounding landscape from the high perch of the building’s roof.
Making the repairs
On July 9, workers from Mid-Ohio Signs and the city of Groveport’s facilities department used a tall crane and also stood on the roof of the historic three-story Town Hall to replace the flag pole rope that raises and lowers the flag atop the building. The repair to the 16-foot tall flag pole cost $500.
“The flag pole rope has been exposed to the elements for 10 plus years and was dry rotted,” said Groveport Parks and Facilities Maintenance Director Tom Byrne. “The rope was upgraded from 5/16 inch to 3/8 inch to hopefully last longer.”
According to Byrne, this particular flag pole has been there since the late 1990s, so it is not the building’s original flag pole.
Byrne said the city purchases flags to fly from the Town Hall flag pole from Admiral Flag Poles in Columbus.
“Flags typically last three months depending on the weather and time of year,” said Byrne. “If someone wanted to donate a flag to fly atop Town Hall, they would need approval from the city administrator. The flag pole is on the tallest building in Groveport and Groveport is proud to fly the American flag.”
Police officer gets bird’s-eye-view
The flag pole repairs enabled Groveport Police Sgt. Josh Short to carefully walk out onto Groveport Town Hall’s roof, which features a roughly 10×30 foot flat walkable area surrounded by sharply angled slate shingles that would make for a perilous ride down if one were to slip.
“I think it’s fascinating that fear of heights seems to increase proportionally with age,” said Short. “Another officer and I went up there back in the spring, but I couldn’t work up the courage to go up onto the roof and only stuck my head up through the hatch to look around. This time I charged pell-mell up the ladder and figured I’d deal with the consequences once I got out there. After standing still in the middle of the roof to watch the guys work for a few minutes, I got a little more oriented and was able to walk around and check out the scenery.”
He said being on Town Hall’s roof is “nerve racking and exciting” and that Town Hall is much taller than it looks from street level.
Short took advantage of his trip on the roof to take several breathtaking photos of the city and surrounding area.
“Being someone who enjoys the history of Groveport it is very interesting to see the city proper from that perspective,” said Short. “A lot of the surrounding houses share their original slate roofs with town hall. The older residential architecture uses the steeply angled roofs with steel gutters. You get a better picture of the old Ohio and Erie Canal remnants underneath Wirt Road as it angles southwest away from Main Street. A lot of the view into the residential area is blocked by Groveport’s abundance of mature trees with some interesting varieties that stand out, including paw paws and holly. There is also a commanding view of the Groveport Elementary school yard where nature is slowly reclaiming the ball diamonds due to recent lack of use caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”
Short said he could see several miles from his rooftop perspective.
“There is green in every direction as far as the eye can see broken up by the occasional building and numerous antennas and cell towers,” said Short. “To the southeast you can see the low hills that start to form as you travel down U.S. Route 33 and there are two distinct radio towers that I know are out toward Amanda. Looking northwest, our lone city water tower stands out against the sky with its white paint and to its left way off in the distance is the downtown Columbus skyline.”
Often the wind blows strong at that height, as evidenced by how often the American flag flies straight out from the Town Hall flag pole, but on the day Short was on the building’s roof, the wind was mild.
“Fortunately it was not windy when we were up there,” said Short. “There was just a slight breeze that did very little to diminish the heat of the blazing sun radiating up off of the roof. The guy on the (crane) boom replacing the flag rope said he’s had some very ‘fun’ experiences being whipped around by the wind on the end of that ‘100 foot fishing pole.’”