SCPD board tours Green Springs park

Bill Young (third from right), village councilman for Green Springs, talks about the community's playground equipment during a tour of Green Spring Community Park Tuesday afternoon. The county park board is visiting community parks during its summer meetings.

GREEN SPRINGS — Seneca County Park District’s board and staff toured Green Springs Community Park Tuesday afternoon during its monthly meeting. The board met in Green Springs Village Council meeting room as part of its visits to various locations in the county to connect with community parks and become familiar with park facilities.

The tour was conducted by Bill Young, councilman for Green Springs, who showed board, staff and other attending the meeting shelters, ball fields and playground equipment.

Prior to the tour, Green Spring Village Administrator John Miller said the town appreciated the grants received by the community from the park district’s Community Parks Grants Program. In its first round last year, Green Springs added benches and dog-waste stations as well as a new building for housing equipment.

“We’ve been able to make some pretty nice improvements to our parks,” he said. “We really appreciate it.”

Park historians Betty and William Gent said the park was originally a farm field purchased in the mid-1970s, and a ball field was created from the “rocky, weedy field.”

William used to coach children’s baseball and he said he, other coaches, community members and members of the baseball teams borrowed equipment and worked to clear the land of debris and planted grass for a field. They borrowed a home plate and measured the base lines.

“There were no fences,” he said. “Back in those day you hit the ball and ran.”

In the ensuing years, improvements such as a backstop were made to the field, a concession stand was added later.

“The village now takes care of the park,” he said. “But that happened slowly.”

Young said he served as park director for a few years, and during that time the community had several summer camps and other activities.

Board member Carl Miller said community grant money is a portion of the funds voters approved two years ago.

“We’re in the second year of a 10-year levy,” he said. “We’re being responsible to the public that we are using their money right, and you people can attest to that.”

During the business session, the board heard staff reports.

Executive Director Sarah Betts said the steering committee for the Countywide Comprehensive Plan is to meet later this month to begin work on action plans for the overarching goals and objectives that have been established. She said CT Consultants has been working on detailed park plans for the four parks that were selected – Bowen, Garlo, Steyer and Zimmerman. She said the plan is on schedule to be completed the end of the year.

Betts said the staff has been preparing budgets for 2020.

“As the staff continues to implement projects planned for this year, we also continue to discuss and evaluate a timeline plan for the next year phases of project implementation at each park,” she said in her report.

Potential funding for water-related projects could be available through a state program called H2Ohio. She said she is discussing potential projects with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Betts said the deadline for the next round of SCPD Community Park Grants is May 1, and any communities that received funding in the first round must have their final reports with receipts turned in to the park office or via email before they can apply for another grant.

She reported the district has conducted 34 programs in July, compared to 29 in the same month last year. Year-to-date, there have been 205 programs, compared to 146 at the same time last year. In July, 620 people took part, and year-to-date 3,148 people have participated.

Nature Preserves Manager Troy Gibson said the former migrant houses at Steyer Nature Preserve have been sided, and are awaiting overhead doors to arrive and to be installed. Preliminary electrical upgrades have been completed and the water distribution project at Steyer is scheduled to begin later this month.

Gibson said repairs to the log cabins at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve are underway, including replacement of logs and repairing chinking. Also at Garlo, he said a 40-foot by 60-foot building has been erected.

A 24-foot by 48-foot building at Bowen Nature Preserve has been erected, and is awaiting paint, gutters and overhead door installation.

He said Eagle Scouts put in a pollinator garden at Zimmerman Nature Preserve, new kiosks have been installed at several parks and the restroom at Forrest Nature Preserve was repainted due to defective and flaking paint from the manufacturer.

Upcoming projects include paving of Mercy Community Nature Preserve parking lot; kiosk landscape paver installation with etched donor recognition at Garlo; restoration of the blacksmith shop at Garlo; and adding an accessible concrete ramp to the Forrest restroom.

The board’s next meeting is at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 10 in Bloomville, and the Oct. 18 meeting is in Bettsville.