Park task force ready for work

A six-member task force is in place to begin the Seneca County Park District’s strategic planning process.

Members are Bill McAllister and Jim Nordholt from the board, John Crumrine and Karin Brown representing the Friends organization and community members Lori Hall of Tiffin University and Cathy Nagle-Ervin of Eastern National, a retailer that works with the National Park Service.

McAllister and Nordholt said task force members will be directing the process, but they will be collecting input from every county, city, village and township official, as well as agencies, organizations and community members.

“We’ll be relying on park committee chairmen and their vision and ideas for each park,” Nordholt said.

“Vision is the key word here,” McAllister said. “Where do we want this district to be in three and five and 10 years. Aspirational dreaming about what we want this district to become.”

Program Director Linda Rose said programs have been well attended, and she has been doing programs for school groups. She relayed to the board information on a potential grant from Walmart from one of the people who attends her programs.

Rose also noted 14 of 15 park levies in Ohio passed in Tuesday’s primary election.

The board briefly discussed the possibility of a future levy, and said the results of the strategic planning process will determine the district’s direction.

Board Chairman Roland Zimmerman said two volunteer park chairmen have stepped down and have been replaced with new people. Kevin Roush is taking over from Don Kleinfelter as chairman of the Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve committee, and Paul Fleming is replacing Dan Mason as chairman of Clinton Nature Preserve.

Catherine Gase, chairwoman of the Mercy Community Nature Preserve committee, said the parking lot has been completed and thanked everyone for participating in the dedication April 22. She said many walkers are using the park.

Zimmerman reported the log cabin restoration is progressing well at Garlo, but could use more volunteers.

He said the same volunteers are working on the restoration of West Lodi Church, and more volunteers are needed on that project also.

At a Friends of the Seneca County Park District prior to the board meeting, Friends members and board members heard a presentation on RSVP of Mid Ohio & Mid Ohio II by project director Kathryn Cutlip-Mills. The federal program, based in Mansfield, is short for Retired and Senior Volunteer Programs. The grant-based program allows people age 55 and older to be covered by insurance as they volunteer in their communities.

RSVP, recently expanded to Seneca and other counties, has been operating in Richland County for 40 years, she said, but a new grant has allowed more area to be covered.

Both the Friends and the board decided to look into the matter further and make a decision on participation at a future meeting.

In other business, the board:

Appointed Jim Nordholt to work with a Fostoria organization on possibly developing a cooperative park in the Fostoria area and report back to the board for review or approval.

Rescinded a resolution to move money from one fund to another. The money was to be the local match for a grant, but the district is no longer applying for the grant.

Heard this year’s Run Ride Drive fundraiser at Garlo preserve is July 27, beginning at 7 a.m. with a 5K run and bicycle ride, followed by a car show at the park until mid-afternoon. New this year is a motorcycle poker run in which riders would pick up cards at each of the county parks.

Changed its next meeting to 6 p.m. June 19 due to the Friends of the Seneca County Park District annual meeting and potluck to take place June 12. The board meets in the basement conference room of the RTA building.