By Kathy Hanratty
Geauga Park District Board (all new members recently appointed by Judge Tim Grendell) have changed the “Statement of Purpose” of the Geauga Co. Park District with NO Public comment period. In one move, with no oversight, they have elevated recreation to the same level as conservation in the parks.
County park districts in Ohio were specifically created to Preserve, Conserve and Protect the natural resources of the region. The Geauga County Park District is a rare gem, containing the headwaters of three rivers that flow to Lake Erie. The long-held commitment to preservation espoused in the parks mission to Preserve, Conserve and Protect has been replaced by a Statement of Purpose in the by-laws that puts recreation on par with conservation in the parks. The new bylaws also gut the position of Park Director and add a poorly thought-out list of activities (including ATV use, logging, and oil and gas drilling.
More than 80 people showed up at the Geauga County Park District Board meeting on 8/11/2014 to protest these changes. Unfortunately, we received NO promises from the board, who appear to be unable to make any decision without the permission of Judge Grendell. Instead, they called an emergency meeting for the very next morning to announce that the judge wants the Park District to suspend the Park District Levy. Citizens of Geauga County voted overwhelmingly FOR that levy and its renewal.
We are asking all of those interested in conservation in Northeast Ohio to help us show clear support for Conservation, Preservation and Protection of our Parks and Natural Areas. We are circulating a petition demanding that the GPD Board REVOKE the ill-thought changes that they made to the bylaws of the Park District. Copies of this petition will be available at our meeting for all of those interested in conservation in our parks. Please join us on Saturday, August 23 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Orchard Hills Lodge, 11340 Caves Rd., Chesterland, OH 44026.
The Geauga County Park District website shows that the next board meetings are scheduled:
- September 9 – Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., Big Creek Park *
- October 14 – Tuesday at 7 p.m., The West Woods
Recently these meetings have been changing dates, times and locations with very little notice, so a call to the Park District Offices at 440-286-9516 is suggested.