The Fayette County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to pursue an application to establish a parks and recreation district for the county.
“We had the public meeting on September 6 and we had, at least from my notes, 22 different people speak out that evening,” commissioner Dan Dean said. “All were in favor, and we also had two entities speak in favor. The board of developmental disabilities director spoke and Leigh Cannon, from the health department, also came out to speak. In lieu of public support at that meeting, I think that is enough evidence for this office to advance the application to the probate judge.”
Dean continued by making a formal motion and introducing the resolution, one created with help from the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office. The resolution reads:
“Whereas, the Ohio Revised Code chapter 1545 provides for the creation of a county parks district upon the adoption of a resolution by the board of county commissioners, authorizing an application to be made to the probate judge of the county within the district as proposed.
Whereas, considerable interest from greater Fayette County community has been expressed to the board of commissioners for the creation of a park district for the entire county.
Whereas, upon due consideration by the board of commissioners of such interest and public benefits, the board has determined, that it would be conducive to and promote the public peace, health and general welfare of the county and its residents, that a park district be created.
Now therefore be it resolved that the board of commissioners of Fayette County, Ohio, as follows:
1. Pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code section 1545.02, the board of commissioners be and is hereby authorized to make application to the judge of the Fayette County Probate Court for the creation of a park district, which shall be known as the Fayette County Park District, which shall include the entire territory within the boundaries of Fayette County as allowed by the Ohio Revised Code. A copy of the map of the proposed park district territory is attached.
2. Upon adoption of this resolution the administrative clerk to the board of commissioners shall certify a copy hereof and forthwith transmit the same to judge of the Fayette County Probate Court as for the board’s application to the court for the creation of a park district.”
Currently, the commissioners are unsure if the state park district of Deer Creek, which is in Fayette County, can be included in the district. Now that the application has been filed, Judge David Bender will have 20-40 days to conduct research, hold a public hearing and decide if he believes the county wants and will benefit from a parks and recreation district.
“I still have a lot of hesitation about providing the opportunity and I am still not clear about the opportunities for the park district to advance its own initiative to go to the ballot without the commissioners’ consent or whether they have to come to the board,” commissioner Tony Anderson said. “I have talked with other commissioners and I still don’t have the clarity on a response to that. But anytime a board of commissioners moves forward with any activity like that, if it’s ever challenged, the first question that is asked is, ‘What did your prosecuting attorney’s office say?’ Our support behind us says that they are their own taxing entity and do not have to come before the board. That is my concern.”
Despite having a hesitation, Anderson said he saw the support and voted yes. He also encouraged the community to utilize any new parks, paths or other opportunities that come from the district, saying that just because the district is created, the county will not become healthier overnight.
“Just because there are trails, it doesn’t make us healthier, and just because there are parks, it doesn’t make us healthier,” Anderson said. “People need to take the responsibility and make the effort to use them. Just because we passed the resolution to go to Judge Bender doesn’t mean we are going to come up out of the bottom 10 in health ratings in the state. It doesn’t mean we have an extra pool, it doesn’t mean that there may be an opportunity if the golf course goes to the new entity that someone will get a scholarship for school, you still must apply yourself.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy