Saybrook Township Park levy to be on May ballot

Saybrook Township Park Commission has placed a levy on the ballot.

Saybrook Township Park Commission is asking voters to approve a new levy for operating expenses.

A .5-mill, five-year levy will be on the ballot when voters go to the polls on May 4.

The levy, if it passes, would generate $111,998 per year, according to the Ashtabula County Auditor’s Office. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $17.50 per year.

Recently, Saybrook Township Park has been dealing with erosion issues. The park was closed for some time at the start of 2020, as erosion protection was installed.

Lake levels were historically high in 2019 and 2020. This year, lake levels are down from their record highs, but are still more than a foot above average.

More than 1,000 tons of armor stone were put into place as part of an erosion control project in 2020, according to the park’s website.

Chair of the Saybrook Township Park Commission Patricia Shells said the erosion issue needs to be fixed, and the funds from the levy will be used to do that. The park had a serious erosion issue on the western shoreline, and armor stone was put in place to protect the shoreline, Shells said.

“We’d like to do erosion control on the entire bank, and the only way to get to the west side to do repairs is through the east side,” Shells said. “So we have to get a permit for the west side, get that repaired. We have to bring in tons of fill because of all the slumping of the bank.”

Erosion control is very expensive, she said. Last year, more than $100,000 for rock was spent, and the stone needs to be higher than it is.

“So it’s probably going to be double that,” Shells said

There is also a drainage issue in the area, with drains sticking out from the bank, Shells said. Shells believes the drains are contributing to shoreline slumping.

Shells said the park needs to protect the shoreline, buildings and infrastructure in the park. She said the top of the cliff is about 50 feet from the buildings.

“And we have thousands of people that come to the park annually,” Shells said. “We have summer concerts, we have people that have family reunions. We’ve recorded over 25,000 people that use the park on an annual basis, and we have to make sure it’s protected.”

The park is an asset for Saybrook residents, Shells said.

“[We] just want to make sure that we’re doing our part as commissioners to make sure that we protect it the best way that we can,” Shells said.

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