Park district sets planning meeting

NEW RIEGEL — Seneca County Park District is ready for the next step in its portion of the county Comprehensive Plan.

Executive Director Sarah Betts updated park board members at their meeting Tuesday afternoon.

“We are ready to have park-specific meetings set up so we can actually begin the planning process for each of the parks,” she said.

The first meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Regional Planning/Board of Elections building71 S. Washington St.

Meeting at New Riegel Community Park in the last of a series of summer visits to town parks, Betts said board members heard a presentation from New Riegel Councilman Jim Bodart, who talked about village council’s plans for grant funds from the park district’s Community Grants Program. New Riegel received $2,296 for benches and grills for the shelter, and $9,393 for paving the parking area.

Betts said she also has worked with Bodart to create a management plan for the community’s nature area.

Also Tuesday, the board approved a resolution accepting a $20,250 proposal for a bank stabilization project at Tiffin University Nature Preserve from Terry McConnell Excavating LLC to repair stream bank erosion.

Betts said she received a call earlier in the year from a neighbor who was concerned about farm field flooding, possibly due to log jams in the creek at the preserve. She said she and Gibson met with Orion Jones of Tiffin University to evaluate the site and found extensive erosion. They worked through Seneca Conservation District to find a recommendation for a contractor to remove a log jam and stabilize the hillside.

Also at TUNP, Betts said the university is planning to pave the entryway to the parking area to alleviate potential dangers of people entering and exiting onto CR 26. TU is paying for the paving.

The board approved a resolution adopting a park district vision statement as proposed by the Strategic Planning Committee to be included in the district’s employee guide.

The statement is: To be a recognized leader and desired partner in providing life-enhancing and life-long, nature-based outdoor experiences for all; and to build a legacy of good environmental stewardship for future generations.

The board also approved a resolution adopting an employee guide.

Another resolution approved by the board amended the price of a John Deere tractor/mower to be purchased from Tiffin Ag & Turf for use at Steyer Nature Preserve. The amended quote is $15,034 for the tractor and $1,902 for the side-discharge mower for a total of $16,937.68. The original quote contained incorrect information.

Another equipment-related resolution approved the purchase of a 14×82 Diamond C dump trailer and related equipment from Pine View Trailer LTD for $7,950.

In addition, the board approved a resolution setting regulations for geocaches and other hidden objects placed in the county parks. Some of the rules include being family appropriate, being placed in containers that do not appear to be dangerous, staying within 10 feet of designated trails and staying away from restricted areas.

Natural Resources Coordinator Troy Gibson reported he has been working with Seneca County’s prisoner crews to remove debris from a former dump site at Forrest Nature Preserve. Betts said workers have removed about 14,000 pounds of metal.

“It’s a phenomenal job that they’ve done,” she said.

Gibson also reported a second purple martin post is to be installed at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve to allow for a greater population of purple martins next year because the first colony was full this year.

Betts said Gibson also has been preparing Garlo preserve for Autumnfest (formerly Oktoberfest) to take place Oct. 7.

Gibson also is preparing to direct seven AmeriCorps volunteers who are to work in Seneca County Monday through Oct. 29 in the county parks as well as other nature areas.

The board is to meet at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 9 at the park office, 3362 S. TR 151.