Park District seeks renewal fee this fall

  • The City of Coshocton and County Park District are seeking renewal of a 10-year 0.5 mill levy generating approximately $342,000 per year.
  • The money not only goes to support Lake Park, but also parks in Coshocton, West Lafayette, Warsaw, Bakersville, Conesvilles, Plainfield, Tiverton, Nellie and New Castle.
  • If the tax failed, Lake Park would most likely need to reduce operating hours and maintenance would fall behind.
  • Work at Lake Park with levy money has included upgrades to the aquatic center and pavilion, LED lights, security cameras and more.

COSHOCTON — Preserving a major tourist attraction and recreation opportunity for residents is at the heart of the only countywide levy on the fall general election ballot.

The City of Coshocton and the District of County Park are seeking renewal of a property tax levy for 10 years at 0.5 mills. It generates over $342,000 per year. It premiered in 2013.

The funding not only helps Lake Park and its affiliated facilities, but county parks as well. About $74,500 goes annually to parks in Coshocton, West Lafayette, Warsaw, Bakersville, Conesville, Nellie, New Castle, Plainfield and Tiverton.

Tammi Rogers, Lake Park General Manager, who replaced Lori Everhart who retired earlier this year, said the dollars taken were used for general operations and the needs of all the different parks. This includes maintenance, equipment, supplies, security, and facility repairs and upgrades.

For Lake Park, this included improvements to the aqueduct bridge, the installation of 16 security cameras, the replacement of path lighting with LED lights and work on the pavilion, including a new roof, the painting and the HVAC system. The aquatic center received new umbrella covers, concrete repairs, new pool flooring, fencing under the slides and more.

The lake park is approximately 500 acres and includes an aquatic center, pavilion, picnic shelters, campgrounds, ball fields, horse pastures, river boat, lake with fishing and walking trails. An area called hill is home to the Indian mud race obstacle course for adults and a group forms a new disc golf course.

More than 250,000 people come to the park each year. Other funding includes donations from Friends of the Park, grants, and fees for use of lake park amenities like the aquatic center, campground, and riverboat. They have about 45 employees, some of whom are seasonal.

The Lake Park Aquatic Center is a major feature of the facility that attracts people from outside the community while serving many county residents.  It is supported by the City of Coshocton and the county's park district seeking a renewal levy this fall.

If the license fee fails, Rogers said they would have to make many tough choices regarding not only basic maintenance, but also hours of operation. This could mean that the aquatic center would be open for four days instead of seven, for example.

“It would only be a decrease in what we are able to offer the public. Once you can’t keep up with certain things, it takes a lot to get them back up to speed once you get funding. So being able to provide consistent funding is paramount,” Rogers said. “We can kind of breathe a little easier and make sure we have things in place to make sure the park is running at its best.”

Supporters of the levy are park users who understand the importance of the local park system.

“They love the park. They want the park to continue and not just Lake Park. They realize there’s a real benefit for all parks to have this extra money,” Rogers said.

The Monticello III riverboat operated by Lake Park was repaired earlier this year ahead of the busy summer season.  Tax money helps with this work.

All parks are primarily used by locals, but Lake Park is also a tourist attraction. Rogers constantly talks with people from out of county who come to camp, swim at the aquatic center or compete in sports field tournaments.

“We talk to hundreds of people asking where is good to eat or what should we be doing. So we’re not just promoting Lake Park and what you can do here, but we’re also promoting of Coshocton,” Rogers said.

Leonard Hayhurst is community content coordinator and generalist reporter for the Coshocton Tribune with nearly 15 years of local journalism experience and multiple awards from the Ohio Associated Press. He can be reached at 740-295-3417 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @llhayhurst.

County Levies on the General Election Ballot

All direct debits are renewals and for 5 years, unless otherwise stated.

∎ Coshocton City Schools – 1.12 mills for permanent general improvements for a continuous period

∎ Village of Warsaw – 2 mills for current expenses

∎ Village of West Lafayette – 2 mills for police services

∎ Jefferson Township – 1.5 mills for road and bridge and works

∎ Bethlehem Township – 2 mills for road improvement

∎ Township of Linton – 1 mill for fire protection

Alcohol options

∎ Venue at Hidden Spring Farm in Warsaw for the sale of beer, wine and mixed drinks and spirits. As well as a separate ballot for Sunday sales.

∎ Killing Tree Winery in Dresden for the sale of beer, wine and mixed drinks and spirits on Sundays.

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