Park board to buy 1.6 acres for preserve

Seneca County Park District’s board Tuesday approved spending $20,000 to purchase a 1.6-acre addition to Steyer Nature Preserve.

The board met at Meadowbrook Park in Bascom as part of its summer tour of Seneca County’s community parks. During the meeting, the board toured Meadowbrook Park, led by Dick Freeborn and Troy Breidenbach.

The former migrant camp adjoining Steyer preserve was purchased from a trust owned by Tony and Kathleen Steyer.

The Steyers agreed to a reduced-price sale, donating $9,311 as well as an in-kind donation of site cleanup work, SCPD Executive Director Sarah Betts said.

“We have been receiving electricity via that property for many years,” she said.

She said plans for the property include improving electric service, improving the water system to provide water for park visitors and possibly a restroom along with storage space.

The purchase has been in the planning stages for “many years,” Betts said.

“It wouldn’t meet grant requirements, so we couldn’t purchase it through a Clean Ohio grant,” she said.

The addition increases the size of Steyer NP to about 142 acres.

The original 89 acres was purchased in 2003 from the Steyers through a Clean Ohio grant and an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Scenic River Program grant. The purchase was made possible by a land donation from the Steyers.

An additional 52 acres was added through another Clean Ohio grant and a grant from ODNR Division of Wildlife.

Also Tuesday, the board approved an adjustment to the use of Community Park Grant funds in Eden Township, which is to allow a restroom project to be completed. The amount of grant funds did not change, Betts said, but the township received other donations to allow the project to be completed instead of partially completed.

An adjustment also was made during a special meeting July 19. The board approved a change to Attica Park’s pool-painting project. Painting was completed before grant funds were disbursed at a reduced cost. About $5,700 was transferred to a lighting project and about $6,000 was transferred back to the grant program to be carried over to the next round of funding.

In her report, head naturalist Linda Rose said more than 1,000 contacts were made during the Seneca County Fair at the district’s new location, compared to 700 last year.

Betts said the board is planning to take bids for a contract to farm the park district’s agricultural land at Garlo, Forrest and Bowen nature preserves.

In other matters, the board:

• Accepted the donation of a wagon from CBM Farms, which has been borrowed each year for use in wagon tours of Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve during Oktoberfest.

• Heard the district received a $1,018 grant from North Central Electric Cooperative People Fund to buy children’s life jackets for use during park programs.

• Heard Friends of the Seneca County Park District donated the cost of taxidermy for a great horned owl mount for use in park programs.

• Heard from the county auditor that the park district’s estimated income for 2019 is slightly more than $575,000.