Area residents will continue to see improvements to many of the area’s parks.
The Ashtabula County Metroparks renewal levy passed on Tuesday, 12,710 votes to 6,236, according to unofficial results from the Board of Elections. The levy recieved twice the number of the yes votes than no.
“Thank you to the voters of Ashtabula County. We were one of the highest ‘yes’ votes for any county-wide levy. It shows there’s a lot of support out there. We really appreciate it,” Gary Hines, who helped organize the levy campaign, said.
“That’s true, not just in Ashtabula County, but throughout the state,” Metroparks Executive Director Larry Frimerman said.
The .5 mill levy was first passed in 2014, by less than two thousand votes, according to Board of Election records.
“We are also extremely grateful for the support,” Frimerman said. “The confidence people have shown in the Metroparks board and staff is certainly comforting and heartwarming.”
The levy has a five-year duration.
“Everybody’s ecstatic about it,” Hines said.
The idea of raising the levy’s millage was raised at a public meeting, but there are no plans to do so at this time, Hines said.
The Metroparks have received significant amounts of grant funding in the years since the levy was first passed.
“That’s one of the best things, the money they’ve been able to leverage with grants,” Hines said. “What they’ve gotten in grant money compared to what they’ve spent was quite impressive,” he said.
“We’ve opened new parks, made them accessible for people. A lot of handicapped accessible areas so everyone could use them and enjoy them,” Hines said.
The Metroparks have had a busy schedule this fall, hosting a number of ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings before Tuesday’s election.
The North Shore Trail, which will connect the Western Reserve Greenway Trail, broke ground in October, 25 years after the trail was first proposed. It is expected to be open in mid-2020. There are also improvements planned at several Metroparks and a master planning process for the Turkey Creek Metropark.
“We do plan to stay the course, with respect to projects that are already underway,” Frimerman said.
“Get out and enjoy the parks,” Hines said in closing.