By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
For 30 years, the Wood County Park District has been sharing its levy revenues with local community parks. Towns use the funds for picnic tables, playground equipment and ADA sidewalks to parking lots.
This year was no different, with the county park board getting a list Tuesday of the community requests selected for funding by park officials from neighboring counties.
Neil Munger, executive director of the Wood County Park District, explained the local grants have been awarded since the passage of the first park district levy in 1988. This year another $100,000 will be handed out to meet the following requests:
- Bloomdale, $4,157 for picnic tables.
- Bowling Green, $4,332 to fund features for obstacle course fitness trail.
- Bradner, $2,479 for playground equipment.
- Custar, $6,900 for walking path, rain garden and swing bench.
- Cygnet, $9,011 for playground safety surfacing and ADA sidewalk to parking lot and restrooms.
- North Baltimore, $14,872 for playground safety surfacing and to replace roofs on shelters.
- Pemberville, $8,635 to complete shelter house conversion and playground mulch.
- Perrysburg, $11,949 for sunshades and swing bench.
- Walbridge, $14,372 for construction of a new basketball court.
- West Millgrove, $14,988 for playground equipment and safety surfacing.
- Weston, $8,305 for sunshade.
Two park grant requests – one from Luckey and one from Tontogany – did not make the cut.
The park district plans to continue its grants to local community parks, but first it must pass its 1-mill renewal levy in May. Board President Denny Parish noted the park district has less than 90 days till the May 8 election.
The levy is the “lifeblood of the park system,” Parish said.
“I hope the public will continue to support us in May and into the future,” he said.
Parish said he has been asked by some local citizens how the park district can project 10 years into the future.
“We have five citizen volunteers sitting in chairs as park commissioners who are very aware these are taxpayer funds,” he said.
Also at the meeting, the board heard an update on county park projects from Jeff Baney, assistant park district director. Some of the projects with bigger price tags for this year include:
- $420,000 for the interpretive center at Sawyer Quarry in Perrysburg Township.
- $125,000 for a parking lot and bridge over a ditch for Baldwin Woods near Weston.
- $50,000 for new playground equipment at William Henry Harrison Park on the edge of Pemberville.
- $50,000 for new playground equipment at Otsego Park near Grand Rapids.
- $13,860 for acoustic treatment of the great room at W.W. Knight Nature Preserve in Perrysburg Township.
- $12,500 for deck repairs at the W.W. Knight Nature Preserve in Perrysburg Township.
Also at the meeting, Chief Ranger Todd Nofzinger talked about the duties of the six full-time rangers. The certified peace officers work 365 days a year, since the parks are open every day. The rangers open and close all the rental facilities. Last year that consisted of more than 500 rentals of the district’s 12 facilities.
The rangers also work on fishing programs, hunter education, bike safety, a rappelling program, First Aid and CPR training, women’s self defense, the Adopt-a-Trail program, canoeing and gun safety. The rangers provide parking services and security at big events like the annual walleye fishing run, the “Pow Wow,” and the Folklore and Funfest.
“Many people think of the rangers as just law enforcement,” Parish said. “I think, as a group, our rangers are second to none.”
In other business, the park district board:
- Agreed to buy a seed drill for about $5,800.
- Learned monthly meetings will be rotated again during warm months to various county park sites.
- Heard all staff would be getting sexual harassment training annually.
- Went into executive session to discuss land acquisition. No action was taken.