By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
After viewing photographs of a massive ice wall towering over park staff, the Wood County Park District Board voted unanimously Tuesday to keep Buttonwood Park closed until further notice.
The park, located along the Maumee River in Perrysburg Township, is a popular fishing spot during the annual walleye run every spring. But it looks like anglers will have to find other places to cast their lines this year.
“There’s a lot of ice there and it’s going to take a long time to melt,” Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger told the board as he showed them photos of the ice bank covering much of the park. The ice came on shore last month when high winds and frigid conditions pushed massive ice floes into the park along the Maumee River.
Township road crews have cleared a lane into the park – just wide enough for a pickup truck to squeeze through, Munger said.
Many of the trees in the park have had their bark rubbed off by the ice chunks.
“A lot of trees are scarred,” Munger said. “There’s no doubt we’re going to be losing some trees this year.”
Some whole trees were swept away by the ice and are now part of the ice wall left behind.
“It’s just kind of an eerie feeling out there,” he said.
Munger estimated it would be May or June before the ice bank melts. The rain that has fallen recently has just frozen into the ice wall.
The ice masses also took out the parking area at Buttonwood Park.
“We pretty much lost the parking lot. The gravel was washed out,” he said.
And the ice chunks bent the steel sign for the park.
“The ice just really ripped it apart,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done.”
And it can’t be finished in time for walleye season this spring, Munger said.
“We’ve closed the park for the time being,” he said.
After seeing photos of the damage and the lingering ice masses, the board made it official that no one should use the park until the board decides otherwise.
“Anyone who goes down there will be trespassing,” he said.
Walleye fisherman will likely be upset, but the site is just not safe, the board agreed.
Munger also suggested that the board may want to consider a change in the parking lot location, so it is further from the river. This is the second time in four years that ice masses have damaged the park.
“You never know, but we certainly can’t keep taking the losses,” Munger said.
In other business, the board continued discussion about working with E.S. Wagner Co. to create a pond at Reuthinger Memorial Preserve.
Munger further explained that if E.S. Wagner is successful in getting the bid for a reconstruction project on Interstate 75 in Toledo, that the company has asked to use soil from Reuthinger preserve.
That would leave the park district with the pond that has been in the plans for the preserve.
“I think in the long run this will save us a lot of money,” Munger said.
The park district will have input on the pond design, with a shallow area proposed for kayak instruction, and an area planned for fishing.
E.S. Wagner would compact the soil in the pond area, “then will probably let nature fill it with rain water,” Munger said.
The park district will stock the pond with fish, he added.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the park board:
- Accepted the bid of $16,850 for a concrete floor in the lean-to at Reuthinger Preserve.
- Agreed to accept the bid of $66,594 for a Caterpillar loader with bucket and grapple claw.
- Accept the bid of $11,820 for a 12-foot rotary lawn mower.
- Heard that the new archery area is getting steady usage.
- Learned an inspection of the parks’ playground areas found few problems.
- Went into executive session to discussion land acquisition. No action was taken afterward.