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MetroParks considers first-ever levy

0.6-mill, 10-year tax would raise $1.7M to $1.8M

WARREN — Members of the Trumbull County MetroParks Board are considering placing a countywide levy on the November ballot to raise money for day-to-day needs and operations of the MetroParks, which include Canoe City MetroPark and Thomas Swift MetroPark, both in Leavittsburg, Clarence Darrow MetroPark in Champion and Foster MetroPark in Newton Falls.

MetroParks Executive Director Zachary Svette said the park board will give first reading on the 0.6-mill, 10-year levy at the 4 p.m. June 24 meeting and the second reading at the July meeting, with August being the deadline to place a levy on the ballot.

Svette said the levy would raise between $1.7 million and $1.8 million for day-to-day operations and upkeep of the parks and equipment, such as the disc golf course in Champion, the bike trails, capital improvement projects and purchases.

He said the MetroParks system, which includes seven park locations, the Western Reserve Greenway Bike Trail and 13 other MetroParks properties, has no levy in place. It receives its funding from county commissioners’ annual budget. Mill Creek MetroParks in Mahoning County has had a levy to support its operations for about 20 years.

The Western Reserve Greenway Bike Trail is a large part of the park district, so a large portion of levy money would go toward maintenance and upkeep, such as replacing culverts and paving the worst sections, Svette said.

PUBLIC OUTREACH NEEDED

“Statistically, more levies pass in a presidential election year. That is what data has shown us in the past,” board member Kathy DiCristofaro said.

Board President Nicolette Darkangelo said she noticed on this year’s primary ballot, which was done completely by mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the issues passed.

“We need to publicize on our website and other ways all that the public can do at our parks. People can hike, ride bikes, play disc golf, canoe, fish and so many other activities,” Darkangelo said.

CONTESTS CONSIDERED

Svette said while the parks are open, the pavilions still are closed and no events are being scheduled because of social-distancing rule and public-gathering bans. He said immediate families who are related are able to get together in small groups for events at parks.

Board member Kurt Sauer said if guidelines change over the summer based on state and county health officials recommendations, more people may be able to attend events in the parks. He suggested smaller events may be able to be held.

Darkangelo suggested the parks hold a “get to know your park” photo contest to get people engaged in park activities this summer.

Board member Steve Maas suggested posting signs in the county to publicize the parks and the levy.

DAM WARNINGS

In other business, Svette said he is in contact with Warren city officials on posting “Dam Ahead” signs along the Mahoning River after a woman in a kayak this spring went over a dam and had to be rescued and taken to the hospital after almost drowning.

“With what happened, we need to get the signage put up,” Svette said.

He said the board also will update the Mahoning River waterway brochure to better highlight the location of the dam.

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