A dedication of the new Ralph Regula Federal Building became a tribute to the life and career of the man who is its namesake.
Former Congressman Ralph Regula rose to a standing ovation and stood with nine of his former staffers in front of the new federal building that Congress named after him.
Regula, speaking Friday afternoon at the dedication for the Ralph Regula Federal Building, said it was a tribute to the hard work of his staff. They assisted Regula in obtaining $2.3 million in federal money in 2003 so the city could buy the 4.5 acres for the project.
“Of course, I had a great teammate,” Regula said, summoning his wife, Mary, to the podium.
“First Republican I liked that I ever met,” Mary said about her husband.
“She’s from Youngstown. She didn’t know any Republicans,” Regula said to laughter.
As Mary fought to hold back tears, Regula choked up.
“Just remember this,” he said. “Take care of your family, and take care of your health and your family. That’s what really counts.
Regula said the building at Third Street SW and McKinley Avenue was beautiful and would be known as a Canton landmark.
“We can’t dedicate this building,” said Regula. “It’ll be dedicated by some widow who (when) confronted by the loss of her spouse ... she can come down to the Social Security office (in the building) and get help.”
The building opened last month.
Over Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the bankruptcy U.S. Trustees’ quarters moved from the Frank T. Bow Building at 201 Cleveland Ave. SW into the Regula Building. The Social Security Administra-tion also moved into the new structure from its former location on Market Avenue N.
Roughly 150 to 200 people, including some of Regula’s children and grandchildren, attended the outdoor ceremony that was held under a tent outside the glass atrium.
“This is certainly probably one of the biggest days for the Regula family, to have a federal courthouse named in his honor,” said former Canton Mayor Janet Weir Creighton. “This is the southwest (Canton) anchor. ... Because (of this building) all of this area should be developed and cleaned up and revitalized.”
Besides Creighton, Republicans such as U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi, Stark County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Matthews and his wife, Heidi, who was a staffer for Regula, attended. Democrats who were invited to the event included Canton Mayor William J. Healy II, Stark County Commissioners Steve Meeks and Peter Ferguson, Canton Law Director Joe Martuccio and U.S. Rep. John Boccieri of Alliance, who sponsored the legislation to name the building after Regula.
Boccieri spoke about Regula’s reputation on Capitol Hill.
“He is well-respected, well-known and well-liked, and known as Ralph,” said Boccieri, who added that Regula got federal money for projects in the district that created local jobs. “Congressman Regula was a workhorse. He got things done for this community.”
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Carnegie Management and Development of Westlake leased the land from the city and started constructing the edifice last year at a cost of $14 million. Carnegie is leasing the office space to the federal government for $2 million a year for at least 20 years.
Regula’s former district director, Robert Mullen, said the building reflects Regula’s values.
“The public and personal Ralph Regula are one and the same. A genuine person. A concern for people. A dedication for service. And a first-class temperament,” said Mullen. “This building symbolizes the man. It’s open. Practical. Opening of development for a downtown that’s looking to its future. ... Like Ralph Regula, this building serves people.”