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Support Trumbull MetroParks levy

DEAR EDITOR:

We need parks now more than ever in Trumbull County. The pandemic has limited individual and family activities, increasing use of our parks exponentially.

As a member of the Trumbull MetroParks Board of Commissioners, I found the July 29 Tribune Chronicle editorial a wonderful opportunity to provide education on the Trumbull MetroParks, as well as our hopes for the future in direct relation to the upcoming levy.

The Trumbull County MetroParks system is comprised of six open parks, Western Reserve Greenway, Mahoning River Water Trail, Cooperation Station Off-Leash Dog Park and 12 properties in various stages of development. With activities ranging from fishing, biking, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, sledding, hunting, nature observations, cross country skiing, disc golf and picnicking.

Since 2014, we have functioned on a budget of $95,000 to maintain and build capital on over 2,000 acres. This is not a reasonable task at that level of funding. Over the most recent two years, we have had to cut back on restroom facilities, refuse support and mowing as costs rise without income rising to meet the need. Not only have we cut back on all the maintenance of our properties, we have no funds with which to build our MetroParks system. Furthermore, we are not eligible to apply for most grants as they require the applicant to have a vested interest in growth in the form of match money and do not outright fund capital growth. This is something that would certainly change were we to pass the upcoming levy, allowing us to maximize constituent funds.

The primary goal is to build our resources in capital first and unwrap necessary supportive staff around that. There are no steadfast plans for the staff construct, which will increase based on time studies so that we do not overextend our precious resources. We see all this growth as an economic plus for Trumbull County.

We also need to be competitive with neighboring communities. About 60 percent of the counties with active park districts in Ohio have park levy funding, including Ashtabula and Portage counties, which are both operating on a 0.5-mill levy.

We cannot underestimate the value of Trumbull County MetroParks to this community. We need green space to support business development shown to grow in areas that have thriving parks. We need our parks to support safe places for families to ride bikes, hike, fish and sled. We need outdoor recreation opportunities to support our physical and mental wellness. We need Trumbull MetroParks to grow to support the education and conservation of nature throughout the community. We need to vote yes for our parks.

NICOLETTE DARKANGELO

Chairperson

Trumbull County MetroParks

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