New Preservation Parks levy?


By Brandon Klein - bklein@delgazette.com



Preservation Parks of Delaware County Executive Director Tom Curtin, left, and Dan Boysel, chairman of the district’s board of commissioners, pose at the Shale Hollow Park’s natural play area on May 15. The park district commissioners will vote on June 8 to place a levy on the November ballot.


Brandon Klein | The Gazette

Giving back

Olentangy Orange Middle School eighth graders gave back to the community on Friday (May 19).

Teachers and students wanted to show their appreciation for Orange Township for allowing students to use its pool on their last day of school, Orange Middle School history teacher Christine Snivley.

“We’ve been planning this all year,” she said.

About 340 students worked at various locations throughout the county including the Delaware County Fairgrounds, the historical society’s Barn at Stratford, Oak Grove Cemetery and an estimated 60-acre site of a future park acquired by Preservation Parks.

“Students were presented with all of the service opportunities and selected their top three choices,” said Kristin Marconi, social studies department chairwoman.

The Preservation Parks’ site had about 85 students plant new trees and take a tour of the wooded areas. Park staff were already planting 250 trees in the area. Chris Roshon, Preservation Parks’ natural resources manager, said the area was a soybean field about two years ago.

“It’s great to have people here to explore the [future] park and reforest this pasture,” he said.

Preservation Parks of Delaware County may ask voters this November to approve a 10-year renewal levy plus additional millage to develop and open at least two new parks over the next decade.

The park district’s board of commissioners will consider a resolution at its June 8 meeting to place a 0.6-mill renewal levy plus a 0.3-mill addition on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election. The district’s current levy expires at the end of 2018 and collections from the new levy, if approved, would begin in 2019.

“We decided we would ask for a slight increase so that we could put more towards land acquisition, new park developments and extend trails,” said Tom Curtin, Preservation Parks executive director, at a news conference at Shale Hollow Park.

The park district owns 115 acres in Delaware Township on Pollock Road and, by July, will own 117 acres in Orange Township, which would be a priority over the next levy cycle. There is also a third location on the northeast side of the county, but it’s under different property ownership.

The new parks would be used for hiking, bird-watching, picnicking, nature exploration and educational programs similar to the district’s nine existing parks.

Development would start within two to three years after 2019 for the Pollock Road location, Curtin said.

Additionally, the district sees an opportunity to provide more services to school districts in Delaware County such as Olentangy, said Dan Boysel, board chairman. Eighth graders from that district planted trees Friday (May 19) at the Orange Township property, which also includes a Bicentennial Barn that would be renovated for public use.

The current levy costs the owner of $100,000 home about $19 per year and provides about $3.57 million annually for the district. With the addition, the new levy would cost the same homeowner $28.68 per year and bring in an additional $2.1 million a year.

Property taxes make up about 80 percent of the district’s funding, Curtin said. The previous 10-year levy allowed Preservation Parks to open three new parks including Shale Hollow; increase the amount of protected land from 965 acres to 1,410, complete several segments of the Ohio to Erie Trail and add 13 acres of wetlands and 80 acres of prairie. It also increased the number of educational programs.

But the current levy passed with nearly 52 percent of the vote, Curtin said, mainly because of awareness.

Marketing efforts are already under way to attract residents in southern Delaware County through social media and mail.

“It’s a challenge to increase that awareness in southern Delaware County,” Curtin said.

The future park at Delaware Township would continue the district’s natural play area concept as Preservation Parks intend its parks to be a temporary retreat from a developed world.

“Our focus is on the natural side,” Curtin said.

Preservation Parks of Delaware County Executive Director Tom Curtin, left, and Dan Boysel, chairman of the district’s board of commissioners, pose at the Shale Hollow Park’s natural play area on May 15. The park district commissioners will vote on June 8 to place a levy on the November ballot.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/05/web1_parks.jpgPreservation Parks of Delaware County Executive Director Tom Curtin, left, and Dan Boysel, chairman of the district’s board of commissioners, pose at the Shale Hollow Park’s natural play area on May 15. The park district commissioners will vote on June 8 to place a levy on the November ballot. Brandon Klein | The Gazette

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/05/web1_preservation-parks-co-map-2013.jpgBrandon Klein | The Gazette

By Brandon Klein

bklein@delgazette.com

Giving back

Olentangy Orange Middle School eighth graders gave back to the community on Friday (May 19).

Teachers and students wanted to show their appreciation for Orange Township for allowing students to use its pool on their last day of school, Orange Middle School history teacher Christine Snivley.

“We’ve been planning this all year,” she said.

About 340 students worked at various locations throughout the county including the Delaware County Fairgrounds, the historical society’s Barn at Stratford, Oak Grove Cemetery and an estimated 60-acre site of a future park acquired by Preservation Parks.

“Students were presented with all of the service opportunities and selected their top three choices,” said Kristin Marconi, social studies department chairwoman.

The Preservation Parks’ site had about 85 students plant new trees and take a tour of the wooded areas. Park staff were already planting 250 trees in the area. Chris Roshon, Preservation Parks’ natural resources manager, said the area was a soybean field about two years ago.

“It’s great to have people here to explore the [future] park and reforest this pasture,” he said.

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.