Preservation Parks enhances the lives of Delaware County residents by providing rich, close to home experiences in nature such as exploring, hiking, biking, picnicking, birdwatching, canoeing/ kayaking, and nature education. However, remaining open space in the county is quickly being developed.
The population increased 15.7 percent since 2008, and is projected to increase again by 14.4 percent through 2028. Preservation Parks protects less than one-half of one percent of the land acreage in Delaware County, and our greatest challenge is to fund the conservation of natural areas now while opportunities exist, before they are developed and no longer available.
Property taxes, voted for by Delaware County residents, provide about 80 percent of the park district’s revenue, and allow us to conserve land for new parks, enlarge and improve existing parks, construct and improve trails and facilities, expand educational programming and outreach, and protect wildlife habitat and water quality.
Without the financial support of Delaware County residents, the Park District could not sustain its current level of public and school programs, park maintenance, land conservation, and natural resource management.
The current ten-year, 0.6-mill levy expires at the end of 2018, and the park board of commissioners has voted to place a levy on the Nov. 7, 2017 ballot. This will be a 0.6-mill renewal levy plus a 0.3-mill additional.
Below is a summary of frequently asked questions about the levy, along with highlighted park district plans that are dependent on levy passage.
How much will the levy cost?
The current 0.6-mill levy costs a property owner about $19 per year, per $100,000 valuation of his or her home. The new levy (renewal plus the additional) will cost a homeowner $28.86 each year, per $100,000 in home valuation.
How long will the levy last?
The ballot issue is a proposed 10-year levy, so it will run through the end of 2028. (Collections on the new levy, if approved, will begin in 2019).
How much money would the levy provide?
Added together, the 0.6-mill renewal levy plus the 0.3-mill addition will provide about $6.5-million in funding a year.
PLANS FOR FUNDS FROM RENEWAL/NEW LEVY: 2019-2028
New Parks and Trails (highlights)
- Purchase land for and open a new, 230-acre park, along Bale Kenyon Road in Orange Township with trails; a reservable, year-round picnic shelter; restrooms; and access to Alum Creek for fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Plans also include renovating the Bicentennial Barn for year-round reservable use. Additionally, the park district will work to connect the park trails with trails in Westerville and Orange Township.
- Open a 115-acre park on Pollock Road in Delaware Township, with a large year-round picnic shelter, trails, wetlands, fishing pond and sledding hill.
- Expand several existing parks, including Deer Haven, Emily Traphagen, and others as land becomes available.
- Actively seek additional land in Delaware County, with the goal of developing more parks.
- Construct Delaware County trail segments of the Ohio to Erie Multi-Use Trail, as land is acquired.
- Construct a 1.5-mile multi-use trail from Smith Park in Delaware City to Gallant Woods Park, pending easement approval.
- Initiate a multi-use trail grant program to assist townships and municipalities with planning, engineering, and/ or constructing connector trails in Delaware County.
- Expand summer camp opportunities
- Create special exhibits and programs related to an annual natural theme
- Expand field experience grants to schools and develop grade-level specific nature and agriculture curricula;
- Develop a mobile “nature center”
- Increase famly,adult and senior programming experiences
Habitat Protection and Restoration
- Restore, establish and increase wetland, prairie and forest habitats
- Continue to remove invasive species that threaten our native plant and animal communities
- Conduct periodic public surveys to gauge attitude, awareness and needs, and the most effect ways to share information with Delaware County residents
- Monitor and adapt to social media and digital communication trends
- Continue to expand website, social media, digital and print outreach, adapting material to respond to current trends