Archived Story

Ellisonville Park still active issue

Published 9:48am Friday, October 5, 2012

Closing Ellisonville Park may not be a done deal, if the county has its way.

At last week’s Lawrence County Commission meeting, a letter from the Ohio Department of Transportation was read informing the county that the park would be shut down on Oct. 29.

The primitive rest area was created by ODOT in 1939 and has served motorists traveling State Route 93 since then. However, the letter from Deputy Director Vaughn Wilson said the park “no longer serves a viable purpose for the motoring public and is often the site of activities outside the scope of the special permit.”

The commission responded by placing petitions in support of the park at a variety of stores and service stations along State Route 93. At least one of those locations has requested additional petitions from the commission.

“I know the letter from ODOT is pretty forceful,” Commission President Les Boggs said at Thursday’s regular commissioners’ meeting. “But there could be some alternatives worked out.”

ODOT has a special permit with the Wayne National Forest to maintain the primitive rest area, which in the past two and a half years has costs ODOT $85,000 in maintenance costs.

“To continue to maintain this primitive rest area or to upgrade it to current design standards would be cost prohibitive and not a wise use of our diminishing funds,” Wilson’s letter also stated.

Before ODOT announced the closure date, Boggs had asked Wayne National Forest officials if they would take over operation of the rest area. But officials said the funding was not there to do that.

A spokesperson for ODOT has said the forest could maintain the park if it wanted to.

The commission intends to collect the petitions by the end of next week to gauge constituent response to the closure. After Oct. 29, ODOT has said it will begin demolition of the structures, driveways and culverts.

In other action the commission:

• Received the weekly dog warden’s report where five dogs were euthanized, eight were sold and none were redeemed by owners;

• Signed the guaranty of completion for Intermountain Electronics Inc., at The Point industrial park;

• Received the resignation of Thalia Neal from the ADAMSHS Board.

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