HOWLAND – Members of the Trumbull MetroParks County Board of Directors and park officials said they need to review what to do after the 10-year, $0.6 million park fee was defeated in the November 8 elections.
The Metroparks board has its regular meeting on Thursday and, with two members unable to attend, has decided to wait until the next meeting to discuss the levy.
Unofficial and incomplete results from the Trumbull County Board of Elections showed the levy was voted down 54% to 46%. It was an even bigger margin of defeat than the first attempt in November 2020, when the levy lost 51% to 49%.
Zachary Svette, executive director of metroparks, said the board and he will need to review finances and possibly discuss a return to Trumbull County commissioners for future funding.
“I want to have a full board of directors before making a decision”, Svette said.
Officials said the fee was necessary for the day-to-day operations of park properties and the Western Reserve Greenway bike path. If passed, the tax would have generated $2.2 million a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $21 a year.
Board member Kathy DiCristofaro said she’s still surprised residents don’t know the difference between county metro parks and city parks in different communities.
OHIO OWN FUNDS
In other matters, Svette said he would seek available funds from Clean Ohio to purchase properties in Lordstown and Kinsman for possible future parks. Svette said they should know in 2023 if Metroparks have received any of these funds.
The 79-acre property is off Lyntz Townline Road in Lordstown and the 200-acre site is off Kinsman-Nickerson Road in Kinsman. He said wetlands will be restored at one site and an old dilapidated house will be removed from the other site.
Svette said the park district wants to have more park land in different parts of the county.
“We have to wait and see if we get funding approval,” Svette said.
Svette said he also had talks with officials from more than 20 local communities about finding available grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission. He said officials from Trumbull and Mahoning counties would be involved.
“It became a two-county effort to seek funding. There are many political subdivisions that work together,” he said.
In other areas, Warren Township resident Debra Roth said she would provide studies to Metroparks on why not to remove the Leavittsburg Dam.
She said she can understand the Metroparks’ perspective if the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency tells them the dam removal needs to be done. The dam belongs to metroparks.
Roth said environmental issues are what will happen to wildlife and aquatic life when the water level drops and exposes sediment on the banks of the river.
“We are concerned about the water dropping what it will do to what we already have there. This water, over the years, has been polluted by many things. Lowering the water level will expose sediment where there are toxins,” she says.
Roth said lowering the water level will also allow people on dirt bikes and motorcycles to get there.
“More studies need to be done and the sediments in the river tested before the dam is removed to ensure the community is no longer at risk to public health. We have already experienced this with the landfill and we do not want to do it again”, she says.
Svette said he would get the information and studies from Roth and report back to the board at a future meeting.
Svette said survey work has been completed at the dam.