COLUMBIANA CO., Ohio (WKBN) – The Columbiana County Park district is making another attempt for a levy on the ballot.
In 2020, the levy failed by over 3,000 votes. However, the district feels like it’s more prepared for this election.
The park district maintains three different areas: the Greenway Trail, Hellbender Bluff Park and Scenic Vista Park.
In 2011, the district received a large sum of money due to the natural gas boom, but the funds are now running out. It’s asking for a .35 mill levy to help with operational cost and improvements.
Eileen Dray-Bardon, park district chairperson, said the money would go toward much-needed improvements.
“We have no lighting in our parking lots. We have Port-A-Jons in all of the parks. We don’t have any restroom facilities. We don’t even have electric and water in all of our parks,” said Dray-Bardon.
This year, the district believes it has a better chance of passing the levy, as Dray-Bardon said there’s a more strategic plan than that of 2020.
“We had a lot of community meetings and did some surveys to gather information from people as to what they would like to see in the parks,” she said.
The first thing on the to-do list is culvert replacements on the Greenway Trail.
“If we don’t do something probably in the next year or so and got a big rain, we would have a washout that would take out big chunks of the trail,” said Dray-Bardon.
She says one of the biggest changes since 2020 was the ability to get out into the community. Now, board members have “been everywhere we can be.”
For a home valued at $100,000, the five-year .35 mill levy would cost $12.25. In 2020, they were asking for a .25 mill levy but due to inflation, they had to raise it.
The hope is that the parks can bring money to the Valley from people outside of the county.
“People come from out of the county on a regular basis. Whenever they come from out of the county, they’re buying gas here, they’re buying food here,” said Tom Butch, Columbiana County Park District commissioner.
The district receives $15,000 yearly from county commissioners, and it sees money from gas royalties as well. But without the levy, the budget would go from about $100,000 to about $30,000.
“We have about one year left of full operational money, and then we are down to the bare minimum,” said Dray-Bardon.
The only place that wouldn’t see the issue on the ballot is Middleton Township, which includes Rogers, Liverpool Township and Knox Township.