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Farewell

Jim Nordholt to be replaced on parks board by Lee Martin

PHOTO SUBMITTED Outgoing Seneca County Park District board member Jim Nordholt (left) and incoming member Lee Martin pose for a photo Tuesday at December’s board meeting.

Seneca County Park District’s board recognized Jim Nordholt for nine years of service during his last meeting Tuesday.

Nordholt’s three terms on the board end Dec. 31. He is being replaced Jan. 2 by Lee Martin, who has been appointed by Seneca County Probate Judge Jay Meyer.

A recognition letter from the board said Nordholt was appointed when its number increased from three to five.

“At that time, the district had grown and needed additional financial and volunteer assistance,” the letter said. “Jim far exceeded our expectations. He took over the legal and financial responsibilities that were required to keep our district operating.”

During many of Nordholt’s years on the board, the district couldn’t afford to hire a director.

“We sat down one time — the five of us — and we divided up the responsibilities,” Nordholt said. “I chose to help with the office and do what I could.

“I had a part in keeping the park district going and helping it grow just like many other commissioners and volunteers did,” he said. “It was a successful few years because everybody worked hard.”

As an attorney, Nordholt’s role included handling legal matters pro bono as well as writing grants and handling the financial paperwork.

Nordholt said the workload the volunteer board members took on could not have lasted forever.

“It would have exhausted us,” he said.

That all changed when voters approved a levy in November 2016, and the last few years the board has overseen the transition of the park district into a staff-based organization.

In addition to three terms as a board member, Nordholt worked as a volunteer for at least three years previously. He plans to continue as a volunteer.

Also Tuesday, the board approved a resolution allocating up to $25,000 toward a project to work with the Army Corp of Engineers to rehabilitate habitat and improve wetlands at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve. The Corps of Engineers has a potential 50 percent matching grant for the project.

During her report, Betts updated the board on the countywide comprehensive plan, and encouraged anyone who has not yet taken the public input survey to do so. The survey can be found through mid-January at survey.azl.

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The comprehensive plan is a 20-year plan meant to guide the growth of Seneca County, Tiffin, Fostoria and Seneca County Park District. She said three public input sessions are scheduled for Jan. 14, 15 and 16 for the western, central and eastern parts of the county to make access as easy as possible.

As part of the comprehensive plan, Betts said the Seneca County Active Transportation Plan is soon to be finalized and added to the plan.

Betts reported the park district met in late November for a preliminary meeting to discuss partnering with other county agencies to apply for an Ohio Environmental Education Fund grant to pay for equipment, training and programming in conjunction with middle schools and high schools throughout Tiffin and Seneca County. Other agencies in the project are North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Tiffin Park & Recreation Department and Sandusky River Watershed Coalition. The grant application deadline is Jan. 15. The grant would advance an existing award-winning project that received funding several years ago.

Betts reported she attended the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Leadership Summit for the first time Nov. 27-28.

She said she and Tiffin Park & Recreation Department Director Bryce Kuhn met with Rep. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin, toured his office and toured the House and Senate.

Betts reminded the board the deadline for applying the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist class is Jan. 18. She said anyone interested should call the office at (419) 447-8091 or email info@senecacounty

parks.com.

In other news, the board:

• Approved a bid from Kagy Farms to lease the district’s agricultural land at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve and Bowen Nature Preserve.

• Adopted a formal set of rules and regulations for the parks.

• Approved a records retention schedule.

• Approved district job descriptions.

• Approved its 2019 meeting list, which continues meetings at 8:30 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month, except the June through September meetings, which are to take place at 2:30 p.m. at community parks around the county to be determined later.

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

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