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Park board explores possibilities

Enter the park board.

Tuesday, November 09, 1999

Enter the park board. Coming together in March, its members decided to seek recreational development to enhance the county’s quality of life and attraction to industry.

Now, tonight, the board will meet with the public – to hear what kind of recreation people want – and state and federal officials – to find the funding, Dyke said.

Representatives of the Wayne National Forest, who serve on the park board, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Ohio Valley Resource Conservation and Development and area park district professionals will come together at 7 p.m. at Ohio University Southern Campus’s Bowman Auditorium.

Prior to that meeting, park board members, county commissioners and state and private agency representatives will tour the downtown riverfront project, the DT&I trail site and iron furnace sites, Dyke said.

After the tour, a dinner will serve as a work session to explore development opportunities and strategies, he said.

"This is a chance to meet officials who can really get things done here," he added. "Every one of them will mention funding sources. And they will be more eager to work if they see people interested like this."

The goal of the park board centers on creating more recreation areas and greenspace, and developing historic sites across the county, Dyke said.

Seeking ideas from the public at tonight’s forum must be part of that planning process, he said.

Dyke talks of recreation’s future like a biology lesson – a food chain of parks, trails, stables, lakes and other areas that function together with economic development and jobs, he said.

For example, developing new horse trails and stables not only will bring new jobs directly, but also offer new industry recreation incentives for their employees, Dyke said.

"Especially the high technology companies look at that," he said. "They want quality of life for employees and those employees want things to do so let’s develop recreation."

And, new recreation areas obviously benefit the local population as well, he added.

The park board was organized through the cooperative efforts of the county commissioners, the extension office, OUSC, Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization, the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, the Lawrence County Soil and Water/NRCS board, the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee, the Lawrence County Farm Bureau, the Wild Turkey Federation, the Isaac Walton League and the Lawrence County Rails-to-Trails Committee.

The board has an appointed board, but relies on citizen committees to plan and implement projects, Dyke said.