LISBON – Citing a looming shortfall and the need for funding to maintain park properties, including the Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail, Columbiana County Park board members pushed for a new five-year quota of $ 0.35 million. dollars for the park to be accepted on November 8th. Poll.
"The city park is your garden," Mayor Eileen Dray-Bardon said in a message to the park's residents. “The county park system is your garden system. We can work with all of our communities. I think we can do many good things. "
The additional tax would bring about $ 635,000 annually for the park borough if approved by voters living in the borough, which encompasses most of the Columbiana area except Rogers Village and Liverpool, Middleton and Knox.
The tax would raise taxes for $ 100,000 homeowners by $ 12.25 per year, or about $ 1 per month. For a $ 80,000 homeowner, the cost is $ 9.80 per year. For a $ 150,000 homeowner, the cost is $ 18.38 per year.
The park district currently receives no money from taxpayers. Previous tax attempts have failed, including the most recent in 2020 for a tax of 0.25 million. The only bond the district receives is $ 15,000 from the Local Government Fund.
The park district also has money from timber sales and gas leases, but Dray-Bardon and Vice President Tom Butch say both funds are running out. According to data from the Park District's latest strategic plan, the district's earnings will go red in 2026 as residual balances drop.
The district has received $ 20,000 in US Rescue Plan Act funding from the Commissioner for the purchase of equipment and has received federal and state grants for the project in the past. State and federal grants, with grants for local county commissioners, will cover a new 1-mile stretch that is expected to be built next year along Highway 154 in Lisbon from Carter Lumber to parks and rides.
For the uninitiated, the County Park District manages Scenic Vista Park, which spans 250 acres in Center Township and includes an 18-hole golf course, hiking trails and gazebos, and Hellbender Bluff Park, which covers an area of 800 hectares. . Madison Township, 20 miles from Little Beaver The Creek Greenway Trail, which runs from Lisbon to Washingtonville and the meeting place of the Ohio Supreme Court, is a Route 7 State Historic Landmark in Fairfield Township.
The park council is made up of five unpaid volunteers appointed by a probate court judge who oversees the operation of the park property, as well as three part-time employees, an administrative assistant who works 20 hours a week, and two maintenance workers seasonal who work each. 29 hours a week. eight months a year for mowing and general maintenance. In addition to Rogers' Dray-Bardon and Salem's Butch, other board members include East Liverpool attorneys Tim Brookes, Salem's Dave Hughes, and Wellsville's Dottie Betz.
When asked why some of the same towns and villages were not part of the park district, Dray-Bardon explained that when the district was formed by the county commissioner in 1974, for some reason the units did not make the decision to join the district. He said bringing those communities into the park district is something they will hopefully explore in the future.
The district also relies on donations and fundraising from the non-profit group Friends of the Parks. As for project grants, most require a local agreement.
A cash plan if the withdrawal is approved is part of the district strategic plan, which can be found on the Park District website at columbianacountyparkdistrict.org. Very detailed reports include budget amounts, background information, goals and future plans.
Butch said his top priority is road maintenance and repairs, replacing road sections, replacing culverts, and applying pavement sealants. Other necessary improvements will follow, with parking lighting, signage, updated information kiosks, restrooms and possibly an improved play area. Another goal is to expand outdoor recreational opportunities, such as B. Hiking trails from Leetonia to Salem or Leetonia to Columbiana.
Future goals include hiring a park manager to handle all day-to-day operations and looking forward to expanding the trail to the Ohio River one day. The Greenway Trail is part of the lake on the Greenway River from Ashtabula to the Ohio River and the Industrial Heart Trail, a regional line that crosses the section from Pittsburgh to Ashtabula.
Butch cites the Greenway as a driver of the area's economy, with thousands of people coming from all over, including out of state, to use the route, including to shop, gas stations, or eat in the community. Each year the park district offers different programs such as nature walks, bird walks, history walks, stargazing, cycling, mushroom identification and even kite flying.