The Licking Park District levy fails again! Now what?
I am as big a supporter of the Licking County Park District as you’ll ever find. But when a park system loses eight straight levies, it’s time for a change. Our wonderful park system needs fresh faces and a fresh look if it’s going to survive.
Our neighboring counties support their parks; Licking County will, too, but first the park system has to win back the community’s trust. I’ve spent a lot of time around our county parks – maintaining trails, as a contractor and volunteer – and have thought a great deal about how to save our park system.
What we need to do:
• Expand the park board to at least five members. The current three member board isn’t large enough to represent Ohio’s third largest county by size and its diverse populations of 158,000.
• Hire leadership that is open and welcoming to community members.
• Create a levy support committee that includes a wide range of citizens and views – people from Alexandria, Buckeye Lake, Granville, Heath, Hebron, Johnstown, Newark, Pataskala, Utica and every township in between, from Hartford to Hopewell.
• Request that our park officials develop a better, more respectful working relationship with all park volunteers. Recently, a group of volunteers asked that the park board, the park director and one of the county commissioners attend an open meeting to discuss the future of our parks and share ideas and suggestions for volunteering. The park board has not yet set a date to meet.
I hope you’ll consider these suggestions of this 75-year-old, park-loving Licking County resident. Please e-mail me at darrellghensley@ yahoo.com with your comments.
We need our parks. The park district shouldn’t lose a ninth parks levy, but I’m afraid it will if we don’t listen to voters who are telling us they want to change.