COLUMBIANA CO., Ohio (WKBN) – The Columbiana County Park District needs help from residents to get a levy passed to help keep up with park maintenance.
The park district operates and maintains three areas in the county: The Greenway Trail, Scenic Vista Park and Hellbender Bluff Park.
Back in 2012, they received about half a million dollars from a signing bonus for an oil and gas lease. The money was mainly used to keep up with maintenance.
“We’ve used our funds to buy a tractor, mowers, just equipment for our maintenance people,” said vice-chairperson of the park district Eileen Dray-Bardon. “Just paying those people and giving them equipment they need.”
They also repaved about a mile of the Greenway Trail.
But, in about three years, that signing bonus money will run out. The park district will have only $15,000 a year — guaranteed money from the county commissioners that could affect future projects.
“We’re to the point where we cannot take on any large projects in the future if we don’t have another source of funding. There’s no doubt about that,” said park district chairperson Tom Butch.
They are asking for a .25 mill levy to run for five years. It would only tax property owners in Columbiana County. For each property valued at $100,000, they would pay $8.75 per year.
“We understand there are some folks in the county that are going through financial hardships but we feel also that the amount we are asking for with this levy is not going to be a huge burden on anybody,” Butch said.
“And so, five years is not forever but it’s five years and it’s enough for us to get some things done and then go back and say, did we do a good job? Renew our levy,” Dray-Bardon said.
They want to finish the Greenway Trail from Lisbon to the Ohio River. One day, that trail will hopefully run from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.
Park usage is way up since the start of the pandemic so they are hoping to use that to their advantage.
“Hopefully, they have a pretty good understanding of what beautiful things we do have here in the county,” Butch said.