Liberty officials and the Trumbull County Metroparks are considering a partnership to have one of the township's well-used parks placed under the control of the metroparks system.
At a recent meeting, representatives from Liberty Township and the metroparks discussed the idea of a long-term lease in which the parks system would operate and maintain Churchill Park, off Belmont Avenue.
Metropark officials Zack Svette and Mike Wilson told township trustees that the metroparks would handle all maintenance, repairs, improvements and care of the park.
Wilson said a positive would be better ways to get grants for the park.
''When we attend conferences what we hear the most is about the benefits of collaborations and partnerships,'' Wilson said.
Trustee Vice Chairman Jason Rubin said the park is an ideal location for a bike and walking trail, and even a dog park. The park has a picnic area, playground and parking lot.
''It's amazing the number of people who use that park. This park is very well utilized,'' he said.
Rubin said he sees the partnering as a great opportunity to help receive grants, possibly for a walking trail to tie into the county's Greenway Bike Trail.
He said such an agreement could help lower and subsidize costs with the metroparks handing the maintenance, lawn cutting, tree trimming, parking lot upgrades and other projects.
Rubin said the township spends about $119,000 annually to maintain Churchill Park, Center Park near the township hall, and Interstate 80 areas. The agreement would save about $40,000 to $50,000 a year, he said. According to Rubin, no jobs would be lost since the township contracts with a lawn care service at the two township parks.
Rubin said the township is hoping that enhancements at the park will also help to bring in business.
Svette said a proposed expense budget for repairs, maintenance, projects and lawn mowing is around $21,000 which Liberty would pay to the metroparks.
''The money Liberty would pay us would benefit the park and the township,'' he said.
Wilson said Churchill Park is very similar to other parks in the metroparks system in Champion, Braceville and Newton Falls. Center Park off Churchill Road is mostly ballfields, he said.
If a partnering agreement is reached, it will be the first of its kind between the metroparks and a township.
''This sounds like a win-win for all,'' Trustee Chairwoman Jodi Stoyak said.
Trustees said they will review the information and will likely call a special meeting this month to take action. Wilson said he would present the idea to the metroparks board at its next meeting.