To everything there is a season, a time to build up, a time to break down (Lyrics to Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds)……the former Simonds-Heller Tool Company had been an icon of Newcomerstown for nearly a hundred years when the factory closed their doors forever. The business was established in the early years in New Jersey, and moved to Newcomerstown just after the turn of the century. Rex File Company was introduced to Newcomerstown residents in the spring of 1907. The factory employed many of the local residents, and business was booming until a devastating fire took place in June, 1917. The Rex File Company was re-built by the following fall of 1917 and later was purchased by the Heller family, and re-named Heller Tool Company. Simonds purchased the establishment in 1955, though the giant smoke stack, dismantled in 1977, still proudly displayed the Heller name. The business was sold out, and the Newcomerstown site closed its’ doors in late 2007.
During a special meeting held by the Village of Newcomerstown on Aug. 8, the village announced plans to re-purpose the property at Heller Drive, which includes 22 acres, to a natural walking trail, and park. The plans are start working on the trails as soon as the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has completed Phase 2 of their assessment, and finalization of the site. Mayor, Patrick Cadle reports that the village is also in the process of applying for Clean Ohio Grant funding.
The plan is that the walking trails will be kept as natural as possible, so that the wildlife will not be disturbed, and can be enjoyed by individuals as they walk through the trails. Grass, and foliage will be kept trimmed, and maintained, but not mowed on a regular basis such as in a park, so as to retain the naturalization. The trail will eventually include benches, rest areas, and restrooms. A possible dog walking area is also being discussed. The village is also looking at part of the area to have a paved parking lot that could also be utilized by patrons attending sporting events at the High School, and to accommodate parking when the new Field House is completed later this year.
The village is also planning for a boat launching ramp to be constructed to be utilized for emergencies, and for boaters to be able to access the river for boating, fishing.
The former Simonds-Hellers power house, and other abandoned structures on the property are pending for future demolition once funding is secured. The future plan is that once the area has been completely cleared, and stabilized, there are plans for a memorial-type park to be constructed. The village has released a planned name of Simonds-Heller Park.