Partnerships could help rescue park

Published 12:59 am Sunday, September 30, 2012

Government — and its myriad of agencies — often looks at everything as an “all-or-nothing proposition.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way when it comes to maintaining a rest area and community park that means a lot to many local residents.

The Ohio Department of Transportation recently announced its plans to close Ellisonville Park, which is a primitive rest area along State Route 93 near the entrance to Wayne National Forest. ODOT went from preliminary stages of evaluating the rest stop to closing it at the end of the month far too quickly.

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The county commissioners are hoping to save it in some capacity and are circulating petitions to gauge public support. This comes after Wayne National Forest officials said they don’t have the resources to take it on.

Couldn’t all three agencies work together to keep this a viable rest stop and community park?

It clearly still serves motorists traveling on the state highway system. It is a great benefit for individuals coming into or going out of the national forest. And the county has a vested interest because it means so much to many rural residents who use it as green space, public park and family get-together destination.

If all three entities partnered, the annual expense for upkeep would be very minimal and would be greatly outweighed by the public benefits of keeping Ellisonville Park open.

It will take some creative thinking and the willingness to tackle this problem differently from the way government typically operates, but it is possible.

The community would win in the end.