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City Council OKs deal to develop new Metro Park

BY ROBERT VITALE | COLUMBUS DISPATCH

July 31, 2007

 

COLUMBUS - Columbus is on board with plans to create a Metro Park of up to 1,200 acres in northeastern Franklin County.  City Council members voted last night to join New Albany in a development agreement that would preserve green space in a part of the county that's growing rapidly.  Trustees in Plain Township are expected to consider the agreement at an August meeting.

 

Metro Parks Director John O'Meara said his agency could begin acquiring land in early 2008 and open the park in about five years.  The agreement calls for the park to be developed within a 2,800-acre area bordered by Delaware County, Peter Hoover Road, Walnut Street and Schott Road.  Columbus, New Albany and Metro Parks all would contribute money to create the park.

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Metro park under way with 107 acres

$13 million pledged toward project

Friday, November 16, 2007

By Jim Woods and Dean Narciso, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The Metro Parks system will develop a park in the New Albany area, starting with 107 acres off Harlem Road.  The three Metro Parks commissioners voted Tuesday to approve a plan that spells out the responsibilities of Columbus, New Albany, Plain Township and the park system to build the park, which has been discussed for years.

 

The park is to be carved out of 2,800 acres of rural land in Plain Township bordered by Delaware County, Peter Hoover Road, Walnut Street and Schott Road at the headwaters of Rocky Fork Creek.  Columbus, New Albany and the Metro Parks pledged $13 million toward the project.  Columbus is paying Plain Township’s share in exchange for an agreement to let the city annex property west of Harlem Road and south of Walnut Street.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/dispatch/content/local_news/stories/2007/11/16/council31.ART_ART_11-16-07_B3_44DI3FB.html

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Park idea requires official creativity

Governments plan 1,200-acre site

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

By Debbie Gebolys, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

 

How officials plan to buy enough additional land to eventually have a 1,200-acre park is a lesson in orchestrating zoning codes to keep land undeveloped.  So adjoining property owners, when it comes time to sell, will have few interested buyers besides Metro Parks.  Land throughout the 2,800-acre "park zone" along the Delaware County border will be zoned one-home-per-acre with the stipulation that the land could be annexed to Columbus, with the township's blessing.

 

Pc0060500.jpg

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/02/27/NUPark.ART_ART_02-27-08_A1_IS9FKA8.html?sid=101

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There's been a regular flow of projects regarding the Columbus Metro Parks that I've generally been posting to the Random Columbus Developments Thread.  These projects deserve a separate thread of their own.  So here it is.

 

The Metro Parks website is at http://www.metroparks.net/ and their link to an interactive map showing the 15 current Metro Parks in the central Ohio region is at http://www.metroparks.net/ParksMaps.aspx. 

 

Here's a brief history of the Columbus Metro Parks system from their website...

 

Established in 1945, Columbus and Franklin County Metropolitan Park District "Metro Parks" features 15 outstanding natural area parks and protects more than 23,500 acres of land and water in seven Central Ohio counties.  Metro Parks offers free educational and recreational opportunities every day of the year that will excite your senses and rekindle your spirit.

 

Metro Parks is a separate political subdivision of the state of Ohio organized under Ohio Revised Code Section 1545 to conserve natural resources and provide natural area parks for people to enjoy. Setting Metro Parks' policy and directing the course of the Park District is a three-citizen Board of Park Commissioners appointed to three-year terms by the Judge of the Probate Court of Franklin County.

 

The Park Board appoints the Executive Director of Metro Parks who oversees all aspects of the Metro Parks management and operations.  John R. O'Meara has served as Executive Director of Metro Parks since 1998. He can be reached at 614.895.6202.

 

The tremendous growth and enduring popularity of Metro Parks is due to the strong support of the community - as voters, as volunteers and as visitors.  Each year more than 6 million people escape from the hustle of their everyday world to enjoy the Metro Parks.  The most important source of income for Metro Parks is the 10-year, 0.65 mill levy approved by Franklin County voters in 1999.  The levy provides a sound financial base for operating and improving existing parks, as well as acquiring additional land for future preservation.  Individual and corporate donations, bequests and gifts are also very important for Metro Parks - allowing for many programs, facilities, and even the purchase of land that otherwise would not be possible.

 

Below is a static image of the 15 Metro Parks in the Central Ohio region: 

2923788409_c58b557f3f_b.jpg

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Purchase paves path for new Metro Park

Board agrees to buy 485-acre tract for $4 million if levy OK'd

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 

By Mark Ferenchik

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Another Franklin County metro park might be sprouting, this one between Groveport and Canal Winchester, but only if voters approve a tax increase next year.  The Metro Parks board agreed yesterday to buy 485 acres along Little Walnut Creek for $4 million. The land in Madison Township would become part of a new, 1,000-acre park.

 

parkland_graphic.jpg

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/07/09/PARKLAND.ART_ART_07-09-08_B1_STAMOLR.html?sid=101

 

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Little Turtle greenway: Metro Parks OKs getting land for trail

Friday, September 19, 2008 - 2:53 AM

By Mark Ferenchik

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Within two years, residents of the Little Turtle development and others should be able to wander a trail along Big Walnut Creek south to Blendon Woods Metro Park.  But those frequenting the Northeast Side neighborhood's golf club could be driving balls off relocated tees and carts down new paths as the club reconfigures them to accommodate the trail.

 

The Metro Parks board has approved spending $370,000 to buy an easement of about 24 acres from the Little Turtle Golf Club to build the winding, mile-long trail along the creek's east bank.  The park system plans to begin design work this year, Metro Parks Executive Director John O'Meara said.  The trail would pass under Rt. 161 to connect with Blendon Woods Metro Park.  It might be two years before the trail is finished, O'Meara said.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/09/19/LITTLETURTLE.ART_ART_09-19-08_B9_O8BCCB2.html?sid=101

 

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PLAIN TOWNSHIP DEAL

Acreage for park sold at a bargain

Friday, October 31, 2008 - 3:05 AM

By Mark Ferenchik

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

More than 300 acres in northeastern Franklin County have been assembled for a new 1,200-acre Metro Park, and the latest purchase apparently came at a steal.  If anything, it illustrates how badly it's going for developers now, even near pricey New Albany.

 

Metro Parks recently agreed to buy 108 acres from New Albany Links Development Co. for $400,000, or $3,703 an acre.  The company's Joe Ciminello had wanted $1.5 million for the land north of Walnut Street and west of Schleppi Road, said John O'Meara, Metro Parks' executive director.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/10/31/parksale.ART_ART_10-31-08_B1_VRBOKFL.html?sid=101

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SCIOTO AUDUBON PROJECT

River park might expand

Building in attractions, picking up some of the city's costs could lead to levy request in May

Saturday, November 22, 2008 - 3:19 AM

By Mark Ferenchik, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The new Scioto Audubon Metro Park on the Whittier Peninsula might attract more than birds and their binocular-toting followers.  It also might draw wall climbers, ice skaters and dog owners.  Metro Parks is considering expanding the 84-acre park hugging the Scioto River just south of Downtown by an additional 40 acres.  The expansion, in addition to expenses already budgeted for the park, would cost $20 million, making the total cost $30 million.  Metro Parks Executive Director John O'Meara said that's why the parks board might ask voters to pass a 10-year, 0.75-mill levy in May.

 

Besides expanding the Scioto park, the financially strapped city of Columbus has asked that Metro Parks pick up some of the city's expenses for the new park.  That might force Metro Parks to scale back the size of its planned parks near New Albany, Groveport and along the Scioto River in southern Franklin County.  "We do want to be supportive of Downtown and the folks living there," said O'Meara, whose board is scheduled to discuss the 2009 budget Monday morning.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/11/22/copy/PARKLEVY.ART_ART_11-22-08_B1_5PBVGA6.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

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Metro Parks budget set at $35.6 million

Grants to pay for new parkland will help cover 24% rise over '08

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 3:13 AM

By Mark Ferenchik, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Franklin County Metro Parks plans to spend $35.6 million next year, a 24 percent increase over this year's budget.  Major projects are to include continuing to develop the Scioto Audubon Metro Park and constructing a 7-mile trail in western Franklin County.  The Metro Parks board approved the 2009 budget yesterday.  Most of the increase over this year's projected $28.6 million in spending will come in two areas -- site improvements, for which the district plans to spend $6.3 million, up from $3.9 million this year; and land purchases, which are expected to total $9.9 million compared with $7.3 million this year.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/11/25/copy/PARKBUDGET.ART_ART_11-25-08_B1_OEC0DBF.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

 

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Metro Parks consider bringing bison back to central Ohio prairie

Friday, December 26, 2008

By Mark Ferenchik, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Soon, you might spy bison grazing in a Metro Park on what's left of the western Franklin County prairie.  Franklin County Metro Parks is considering bringing bison to either its Prairie Oaks or Battelle-Darby Creek parks by 2010, Executive Director John O'Meara said.  Prairie Oaks might be the lead choice.  It has 400 acres of restored prairie on the Madison County side of the park west of Big Darby Creek, O'Meara said.

 

O'Meara called the project "very preliminary."  But he said the idea has been around for a while and it's one that he thought the new nonprofit Stewards of Metro Parks group could pursue as one of its first projects. The stewards are volunteers who advocate and raise money for the parks.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/12/26/copy/BISON.ART_ART_12-26-08_C1_ALCBGTP.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

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Metro Parks board to push 0.75-mill levy

May 5 ballot issue won't cost a lot but comes amid troubled economy

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 3:19 AM

By Mark Ferenchik, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Metro Parks is asking voters to approve a 10-year, 0.75-mill levy to maintain parks, while also expanding the system and adding programs.  The three-member board voted yesterday to place the issue before Franklin County voters on the May 5 ballot.  The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $23 a year, compared with $13 spent with the current 0.65-mill levy, parks officials said. That levy expires at the end of this year.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/01/14/copy/PARKSLEVY.ART_ART_01-14-09_B1_21CHIEQ.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

 

 

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A little more information on possible future Metro Park projects from the previous levy article:

 

Metro Parks is asking voters to approve a 10-year, 0.75-mill levy on May 5 that would cost owners of a $100,000 house $23 a year, up from the $13 they now pay.  Officials say the money would, among other uses, go to:

 

- Maintain existing parks and facilities, and pay for programs and activities throughout the 15 parks.

 

- Build a nature center in the Big Darby Creek watershed.

 

- Build 50 miles of trails and manage more of the Greenways trail system.

 

- Expand the Scioto Audubon Metro Park on the Whittier Peninsula near Downtown Columbus.

 

- Open three new parks: in northeastern Franklin County in Plain Township, near New Albany; along Little Walnut Creek in Madison Township, near Canal Winchester and Groveport; and along the Scioto River in southern Franklin County, near Grove City.

 

Source: Metro Parks

 

http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/01/14/copy/PARKSLEVY.ART_ART_01-14-09_B1_21CHIEQ.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

 

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Metro Parks edges closer to 1,200-acre goal for new park

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

By Mark Ferenchik, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Franklin County Metro Parks now has assembled more than a third of its planned 1,200-acre park near New Albany after agreeing to buy 92 acres north of the village for just more than $1.3 million.  Yesterday, the parks board bought 63 acres from HBI Properties for $909,150 and 29 acres from Harlem Properties for $419,050.  That brings the amount of land Metro Parks now controls in the area to more than 400 acres, said Steve Studenmund, Metro Parks' planning manager.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/dispatch/content/local_news/stories/2009/02/11/PARKLAND.ART_ART_02-11-09_B3_4L7E2F5.html

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Economy taking toll on push for Metro Parks levy

Thursday,  March 19, 2009

By Mark Ferenchik, The Columbus Dispatch

 

In these hard times, the campaign for the Metro Parks levy is facing a financial crunch.  The campaign's original goal was to raise $400,000.  So far, contributors have given $130,000.  Metro Parks said American Electric Power, Grange Insurance and the law firm of Squire Sanders & Dempsey are among the businesses endorsing the levy.  To save cash, the campaign doesn't plan any TV ads.  It does plan to use its network of supporters to blast e-mails and has discussed using social-networking sites such as Facebook to get the message out, Executive Director John O'Meara said.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/03/19/PARKLEVY.ART_ART_03-19-09_B3_3VD9JVT.html?sid=101

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New trail winds through Darby Dan Farm acreage

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer - Columbus Messenger

April 18, 2009

 

Battelle Darby Creek Park, located just east of West Jefferson, boasts a new trail that offers users a chance to visit a horse training barn and walk on a race track.  Metro Parks, operators of the sprawling park along Big Darby Creek, created the trail which stretches from the park to West Broad Street (U.S. Route 40) some four miles to the north.

 

The Battelle Darby Creek Greenway Trail is part of a planned 25-mile trail that will connect Prairie Oaks Metro Park to Battelle Darby Creek and on south to Harrisburg.  What stands in the way of extending the trail north to Prairie Oaks is the four-lane highway. “We are studying how to cross Route 40 and hope to have some plans finalized later this year,” Hanley said.

 

Metro Parks acquired 1,300 acres of land from Darby Dan Farm to help expand its park system and amenities.  The trail is getting a lot of use as the weather gets warmer, Hanley said.  To help with safety issues, neon signs indicating a bike path have been added on Darby Drive.

 

Read more at http://www.columbusmessenger.com/NC/0/6102.html

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Metro Parks visits up in down economy

Officials hope that sells voters on levy

Monday,  May 4, 2009 - 3:08 AM

By Mark Ferenchik, The Columbus Dispatch

 

The bad economy could be helping boost attendance at Franklin County Metro Parks.  The number of visitors rose nearly 20 percent during the first three months of this year, from 815,500 to 975,800.  Attendance in March of this year was up 55 percent over March 2008 when, officials said, heavy snow kept people home.

 

Officials hope that a boost in park visits translates to success at the polls on Tuesday, when Franklin County voters will decide a 10-year, 0.75-mill operating levy for the parks.  Nearly 60 percent of voters passed a 10-year, 0.65-mill levy in 1999.  But boosters are worried the deep recession will keep some residents from voting for the levy, even though the amount of the levy increase is relatively small -- from $13 a year for the owner of a $100,000 house to $23.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/05/04/copy/PARKSLEVY.ART_ART_05-04-09_B1_PUDOH0U.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

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PASSED!

:clap:  :banger:  :clap:  :banger:  :clap:  :banger:  :clap:  :banger:  :clap:  :banger:

 

Metro Parks levy passes

Win is breath of fresh air for worried parks board

Wednesday,  May 6, 2009 - 3:13 AM

By Mark Ferenchik, The Columbus Dispatch

 

Franklin County Metro Parks will have money for operations, maintenance and property purchases for the next 10 years after nearly 58 percent of county voters OK'd a 0.75-mill property tax yesterday.  The parks levy will increase the annual tax per $100,000 of property value for a homeowner to $23, from $13, starting next year.  The tax is expected to generate $215 million over the next decade, or 70 percent of the district's projected revenue.  A 0.65-mill tax that generated 54 percent of the revenue from 2000 to 2008 is expiring at the end of this year.

 

Supporters feared that the issue was in jeopardy because of the bad economy and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman's announcement last week that the city will ask Columbus voters in August to raise the income tax to 2.5 percent, from 2 percent. 

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/05/06/METROPARKSLEVY.ART_ART_05-06-09_A1_PSDP7N6.html?sid=101

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Metro Parks success paves path for additions

Wednesday,  May 6, 2009 - 1:38 PM

By GAIL MARTINEAU, ThisWeek Staff Writer

 

Franklin County residents approved the Metro Parks levy Tuesday, allowing the parks system to receive funding through 2019.  Issue 1 -- the 10-year, 0.75-mill levy -- was approved with 52,495 votes for the measure (57.8 percent) and 38,392 voting against it (42.2 percent), according to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections.

 

John O'Meara, Metro Parks executive director, said the levy will help fund the creation of three new parks: Rocky Fork Headwaters Metro Park in Plain Township, near New Albany; Scioto South, along the Scioto River in Grove City and Jackson Township; and Little Walnut, near Canal Winchester.

 

Read more at http://www.thisweeknews.com/live/content/upperarlington/stories/2009/05/06/0507uametroprint_ln.html?sid=104

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New trail winds through Darby Dan Farm acreage

http://www.columbusmessenger.com/NC/0/6102.html

 

Follow-up to the above story about the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park and the park's use of the recently purchased "Darby Dan" Galbreath property along the Big Darby Creek national and state scenic riverway.

 

 

Metro Parks to refurbish Darby Dan grandstand, barn that once hosted VIPs, churned out top-notch racehorses

Thursday,  May 14, 2009 - 3:35 AM

By Mark Ferenchik, The Columbus Dispatch

 

For years, Darby Dan Farm in western Franklin County served as a training ground for some of the country's top racehorses, including champion thoroughbreds.  It was a place that celebrities, a president and a princess visited.  Time and weather have faded its track, barn and grandstand, which were purchased by Franklin County Metro Parks in 2003 and 2004.

 

But the parks district soon will begin refurbishing the grandstand and barn and convert the area into a museum of sorts, with historic markers and photos telling some of the history of the Galbreath family and reflecting prominent developer John W. Galbreath's love of horses.  On April 1, the park system opened a 4.3-mile trail connecting the Cedar Ridge area of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park to the track, grandstand and "round barn" -- a covered, 1/8 -mile oval that once housed up to 32 horses.

 

Read more at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/05/14/HORSEARENA.ART_ART_05-14-09_A4_BEDRUA3.html?sid=101

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On the Beaten Track: Metro Parks to refurbish Darby Dan grandstand, barn that once hosted VIPs, churned out top-notch racehorses

 

Photos of the barn, racetrack and grandstand described in the previously posted Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park news article (link to original article above).

 

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Stephanie Shaffer, assistant manager for Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, looks for birds in the old “round barn” that once was part of Darby Dan Farm.

 

 

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This barn, built in 1958, is a 1 /8-mile oval that counted up to 32 racehorses as residents.  The roof needs to be replaced, and nameplates of horses are to be placed on the stalls.

 

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Township ponders sale of land to Metro Parks

Tuesday,  June 23, 2009 - 6:43 PM

By GAIL MARTINEAU, ThisWeek Staff Writer

 

Plain Township administrator J.B. Bowe is working with Metro Parks officials to possibly sell the 32.4 acres the township owns on Walnut Street.  The plot was under dispute earlier this year after local radio station Christian Voice of Central Ohio contacted the township about a $940,000 lease-purchase agreement for the land for its 400-foot radio tower.  The three township trustees rejected the proposal in March after residents expressed concerns over the tower's location.

 

Read more at http://www.thisweeknews.com/live/content/newalbany/stories/2009/06/17/Metro_Parks.html?type=rss&cat=&sid=104

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Land bought for new parks

Wednesday,  August 12, 2009 - 3:05 AM

By Mark Ferenchik, The Columbus Dispatch

 

Metro Parks is buying three more chunks of land for two new parks in southern Franklin County.  The parks board this week agreed to spend $1.2 million to buy 70 acres along the Scioto River in Jackson Township, plus 146 acres along Walnut Creek between Groveport and Canal Winchester in Madison Township.  The 146 acres along the creek will be added to the 485 acres that the parks board agreed to buy from Eastside Nursery last year in the hopes of creating a 1,000-acre park.

 

The purchase last year cost $8,247 an acre.  The parks board will spend $750,000 for a 90-acre tract along the creek; that's about $8,333 per acre.  An additional 56 acres along the creek cost $125,000, or $2,232 an acre.  The price of the 70-acre property between the Scioto River and Rt. 104 is $348,000, or $4,971 an acre.  That is to be part of a 1,000-acre park south of I-270.

 

MAP OF PARK PROPERTIES PURCHASED

 

Read more at http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/08/12/copy/METRO_PARKS.ART_ART_08-12-09_B3_UVEODBI.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

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Metro Parks has big plans after tax

500-acre wetland, management of city trails, new park on tap

Saturday, November 21, 2009

By Mark Ferenchik

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Flush with millions of dollars after voters approved a tax hike in May, Franklin County Metro Parks plans to open a park in 2011, take over Columbus' greenway trails early next year and develop a 500-acre wetland, the largest such project in Ohio.  The system's proposed $41.6 million budget for 2010 includes $1 million to develop a 500-acre wetland on the east side of Darby Creek Drive in Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park in southwestern Franklin County.

 

Metro Parks plans to add a new parks operations manager and assistant park manager, as well as six full-time and two part-time workers to manage the greenway trails, including rangers to patrol them.  The district also plans to complete initial work to open a new $4.56 million, 482-acre park on the site of the former Eastside Nursery between Groveport and Canal Winchester by 2011.

 

Full story at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/11/21/PARKSMONEY.ART_ART_11-21-09_B1_0LFOFSR.html?sid=101

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New member appointed to Franklin County Metro Parks board

Monday,  November 30, 2009 - 11:12 AM

By Mark Ferenchik

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Frances Beasley, an environmentalist who has served on the Audubon Ohio board, will be the newest board member for the Franklin County Metro Parks.  Franklin County Probate Judge Eric Brown will appoint Beasley on Wednesday at the board's budget meeting.  Her three-year term begins in January.  She replaces Ellen Tripp, who will leave at the end of December.

 

Beasley, 60, retired from her position as assistant director of environmental policy and planning for Columbus Department of Public Utilities in 2007.  She oversaw the greenways program for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and worked as an administrator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

 

Full story at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/11/30/New-member-appointed-to-parks-board.html?sid=101

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Metro Parks board adopts $41.6 million budget

Thursday,  December 3, 2009 - 2:14 PM

By Mark Ferenchik, The Columbus Dispatch

 

The Franklin County Metro Parks board has adopted a $41.6 million budget for 2010 that includes money for a new park in southeastern Franklin County, a 500-acre wetland at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, and pay raises.  Franklin County voters approved a 10-year, 0.75-mill levy in May that is expected to collect an additional $8.6 million in property tax revenue for 2010.

 

Full story at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/12/03/Parks-board-approves-budget.html?sid=101

 

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Plain Township looks to sell land to Metro Parks

Wednesday,  February 24, 2010 - 2:06 PM

By GAIL MARTINEAU, ThisWeek Staff Writer

 

Plain Township officials once again are trying to sell their 32.4-acre lot on Walnut Street to Columbus Metro Parks. 

 

Township administrator J.B. Bowe said he has been talking with Metro Parks director John O'Meara about selling the property for $15,000 per acre -- $500 more per acre than Metro Parks officials originally proposed last June.  At the $15,000 price, the township would make about $486,000 on the sale.

 

According to Bowe's administrator's report presented to the trustees at their Feb. 17 meeting, the Walnut Street property would make a good entrance to the proposed 12,000-acre Rocky Fork Headwaters Metro Park in northern Plain Township.

 

FULL ARTICLE: http://www.thisweeknews.com/live/content/newalbany/stories/2010/02/24/0225napark-land_ln.html?sid=104

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Nature conservancy selling 85 acres to parks system

Business First of Columbus - by Matt Burns

Wednesday, March 10, 2010, 2:10pm EST

 

Franklin County Metro Parks in the next few months could close on a deal to buy more than 80 acres along Big Darby Creek from the Nature Conservancy for $570,000.

 

The park system and conservancy reached a deal to turn over the 85 acres of land this week with the transaction expected to close by June, conservancy spokesman Randy Edwards said.  The parcel, much of which was acquired by the conservancy in 1996, mostly lies just south of Route 40 in Prairie Township, with a small chunk of the land west of Big Darby in Madison County.

 

Edwards said the sale is part of an ongoing conservancy effort to shed some land and focus primarily on conservation efforts, particularly with the 800-acre Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve in Logan County, the site of a two-year, $2 million restoration project unveiled in 2009.  The group will no longer own land in Franklin County after the deal closes, but Edwards said future acquisitions are a possibility.

 

FULL ARTICLE: http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2010/03/08/daily22.html?surround=lfn

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Metro Parks passes 25,000 acre mark

Latest acquisitions expand new park near Groveport

Tuesday,  May 25, 2010

By Vince Bond Jr.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

For Franklin County Metro Parks, even the smallest acquisitions can have a huge impact.  Yesterday, Metro Parks officials completed a deal that adds 146 acres to the unopened Walnut Woods Metro Park, pushing the system's holdings past the 25,000-acre mark.

 

For the record, the system now maintains 25,113 acres.  "It's an important milestone. We're keeping our promises to the public," said Director John O'Meara.  "We're looking forward to having the park open so people can start enjoying."  O'Meara said the agency is shooting to open the 628-acre park this year.  It will be the 16th park in the system.  Walnut Woods, which is between Groveport and Canal Winchester, is the site of the former Eastside Nursery.

 

LOCATION MAP OF WALNUT WOODS METRO PARK

 

Full article: http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/05/25/copy/metro-parks-growing-a-little.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

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Metro Park board accepts land

Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 2:55 AM

By Doug Caruso

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

A new park continued to take shape yesterday as the Metro Parks board accepted 193 acres of Scioto River flood plain from Grove City.  The new park is one of three that Metro Parks promised last year in its successful campaign for a property-tax increase.  Walnut Woods Metro Park is expected to open this year between Groveport and Canal Winchester, and a third park is planned near New Albany.

 

It's unclear whether the Grove City park, referred to as Scioto South in Metro Parks' planning documents, or the New Albany park, sometimes referred to as Rock Fork, will open first, said John O'Meara, the park system's director.  Each is at least a few years from opening, he said, and Metro Parks is negotiating to buy more land for both parks.

 

MAP OF NEW METRO PARKS IN DEVELOPMENT

 

Full article: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/06/10/park-land-accepted-racetrack-opposed.html?sid=101

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Metro Parks takes over city trails Monday

Friday, July 9, 2010 - 4:32 PM

By Encarnacion Pyle, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

On Monday, Franklin County Metro Parks will take over maintenance of the entire 85 miles of trails that wend their way along city parks and county land.  This includes portions that previously had been maintained by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.  An economic advisory committee appointed by Mayor Michael B. Coleman has recommended the partnership as a cost-saving measure.  The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department currently keeps up 47 miles of trails throughout the county. 

 

"We've already partnered on building some of the trails, so it made sense to take this relationship a step further and have one entity ensure that all of the trails are kept trimmed, cleaned of debris, and repaired whenever necessary," Alan D. McKnight, Columbus' Recreation and Parks director said in a written statement today.

 

Both departments will continue to build trails separately, as well as together.  Recreation and Parks will still issue permits for special uses of the trails in city parks.  Metro Parks rangers will patrol the trails.  "This will help us establish uniform standards for the protection and maintenance of the trails, while also enhancing the quality ... for hundreds of thousands of trail users," said John O'Meara, Metro Parks' director

 

Full article: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/07/09/metro-parks-takes-over-city-trails-Monday.html?sid=101

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Park soon will be home where bison can roam

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

By Mark Ferenchik

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The bison will roam western Franklin County in a few months.  Metro Parks is spending $155,000 for a fence at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park and $29,000 to hire TRIAD Architects to design an observation tower and shelter for the six to eight bison scheduled to arrive this fall.  It also is spending $35,000 for other site improvements, including a well and watering troughs.

 

The bison area will be part of a cluster of new projects at the park.  The two sites that make up the bison area and total 45 acres will be located near the planned $3.3 million nature center along the Big Darby Creek west of Darby Creek Drive.  The nature center is scheduled to open in 2012.  Metro Parks also is creating a 500-acre wetland nearby, east of Darby Creek Drive.

 

Full article: http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/08/11/copy/park-soon-will-be-home-where-bison-can-roam.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

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Metro Parks putting last year's property-tax hike to use

Newest park scheduled to open in spring

Monday, October 25, 2010

By Mark Ferenchik

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Last week, workers were pounding stakes in the soft earth along what will be a paved path at the new Walnut Woods Metro Park.  Although the park's opening has been delayed until spring, officials say it will be worth the wait for Groveport and Canal Winchester residents, as well as other visitors.  The 628-acre retreat, which is being built largely on the grounds of a former tree nursery, would not have been possible had Franklin County voters not approved a property-tax increase last year.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/10/25/copy/metro-parks-putting-last-years-property-tax-hike-to-use.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

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Mountain bikers eager to tackle new Metro Parks trail

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

By Mark Ferenchik

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Metro Parks is working with the Central Ohio Mountain Bike Organization to develop a 12-mile trail at Chestnut Ridge Metro Park in northwestern Fairfield County, the first such trail in the park system.  Yesterday, the Metro Parks board approved the agreement with the group to help design, build and operate the trail.  Metro Parks will spend about $40,000 on it.

 

Mountain bikers wanted Metro Parks to build a trail 10 years ago, but officials balked back then, said Brian Adams, a board member with the central Ohio bike group and president of the Ohio Mountain Bike Association.

 

In 2007, the Five Rivers MetroParks system in Dayton opened an 8-mile trail at Huffman MetroPark near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in suburban Fairborn.  "They just rave about it," said Larry Peck, deputy director for Metro Parks.  The successful relationship between the Five Rivers system and the Miami Valley Mountain Bike Association helped persuade Metro Parks officials here to build the trail, Adams said.

 

The new trail is a big deal for local mountain-bike enthusiasts, he said. The only trail within 30 minutes of Downtown Columbus is a 14-mile trail at Alum Creek State Park in Delaware County.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/11/10/riders-eager-to-tackle-new-trail.html?sid=101

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Metro Parks awaits budget pinch

District to tuck away $3.3M until 2011 state funds clear up

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 

By Mark Ferenchik, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Metro Parks officials say questions about state funding and property-tax collections are forcing them to delay improvements, land acquisitions and new hires next year.  The Metro Parks board recently approved its 2011 budget of $39.9 million. 

 

That's about 13 percent more than the $35.3 million the district is on track to spend in 2010 after voters approved a tax increase last year.  However, Executive Director John O'Meara said Metro Parks might spend only $35 million in 2011. 

 

The state faces a potential $8 billion deficit in its two-year budget due June 30, and O'Meara and board members fear a big cut in local-government funds.  In 2010, the district received $4.1 million from the state's local-government fund and $1.3 million in state grants, totaling about 16 percent of Metro Parks' funding from public sources. 

 

Metro Parks anticipates $2 million from the state's local-government fund in 2011.  With that in mind, the district will hold off on $3.3 million in improvements and operating expenses until at least the second half of the year, when Metro Parks officials will know what their state funding looks like.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/12/08/copy/metro-parks-awaits-budget-pinch.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

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Metro Parks wants to build larger nature center

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

By Mark Ferenchik, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The price tag for a planned nature center at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park has grown to $4.1 million.  The cost increase, officials say, reflects plans to host larger groups of students and include more exhibit space.  Metro Parks' original estimate for the 10,000-square-foot building was $2.8 million.  Officials now say they need it to be 14,000 square feet.

 

The center will overlook an area where six bison were moved to on Friday.  It also will include geothermal wells to heat and cool the building and a green roof with grasses and other plants to attract butterflies.  The center is supposed to be finished by 2012.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2011/02/09/metro-parks-wants-to-build-larger-nature-center.html?sid=101

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Metro Parks acquire more Big Darby land

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

By Molly Gray, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The Franklin County Metro Parks board has purchased land near Big Darby Creek in Brown, Prairie and Pleasant townships to improve water quality in the area and add to its parks.

 

Metro Parks purchased 102 acres from Frank and Vicki Dengg of Prairie Township for $826,000.  The land, located along Amity Road north of W. Broad Street, will be used in a habitat-restoration project, said John O'Meara, the agency's executive director.

 

The second property, 42 acres adjacent to Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, will be used to expand the park, O'Meara said.

 

MAP OF METRO PARKS PURCHASES

 

READ MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2011/06/21/metro-parks-acquire-more-big-darby-land.html?sid=101

 

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Parks board OKs new nature center

By Mark Ferenchik, The Columbus Dispatch

Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 7:18 AM

 

The Metro Parks board approved a $4.8 million construction contract yesterday to build a nature center at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.  R.W. Setterlin Building Co. is to begin work next week and should complete the building by September 2012.

(. . .)

The center will have a 53-foot-long freshwater aquarium — with fish, mussels and insects from Big Darby Creek — as well as classrooms and an auditorium.  The board originally thought the project would cost $2.8 million for a 10,000-square-foot building.  Then, in February, the proposed building grew to 14,000 square feet and the cost estimate increased to $4.1 million.  Officials said they needed the larger building to include a larger multipurpose room and more exhibit space.

(. . .)

The board also agreed to buy about 100 acres in the northeastern section of Plain Township for $1.7 million from C&Y Properties of Big Walnut LLC to expand the size of the park proposed for the area near New Albany.

 

READ MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2011/09/08/parks-board-oks-new-nature-center.html

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