Letters to the editor—Dec. 8, 2016

Park not created for snowmobiles

I have sent the following letter to the three Commissioners of the Geauga Park District, Jackie Dattore, Bill Gertz and Len Barker.

As a former park commissioner who was actively involved in creating Observatory Park, I am astounded that you would consider approving a new program to permit unfettered snowmobiling at Observatory Park.  The park was developed to be an education park with significant world class scientific instruments including two large professional telescopes, a first class planetarium, green buildings and landscaping designed to attract professional and amateur astronomers, and trails to graphically display the relationships of the planets to our galaxy.  The park includes the headwaters of the Chagrin River.  The uniqueness of its location and the facilities and its mission are the reason it was awarded the Dark Sky Designation by an international organization – one of a handful of properties in the entire U.S. and around the world.

The original vision and mission never included or even contemplated active use of the park for snowmobiling or other motorized vehicles.  The original mission was supported by private donors who contributed nearly $2 million to build the park according to that mission.  For you to approve, condone or even experiment with snowmobiling in the park is an affront to the donors and others who worked so hard to protect and conserve the property in its present state.  To permit closing the park for snowmobiling on a daily basis is irresponsible.  Exclusive use of the public property by a few people (who have numerous snowmobile trails close by) borders on malfeasance. 

I urge you to use your judgment, common sense and reason and to exercise your commissioners’ responsibility to stop this proposed program in it tracks – now – and protect Observatory Park and its original mission.  Stop snowmobiling altogether!                                                        

John D. Leech, Chester

Park No Place for Snowmobiles

It appears that Executive Director of the Geauga Parks John Oros has a simple formula for reshaping the park district: change the parks into his personal playground.

He’s a National Wild Turkey Federation member, so he’s all about closing a park down so that a few hunters can buy permits to take the turkeys — never mind that he just gave away taxpayer’s opportunity to see said turkeys in the wild … and all for a non-park group to sell for their own profit, no less.

And now he’s demonstrating that he’s way more a snowmobile enthusiast than an astronomy buff, or he wouldn’t be giving exclusive priority park usage at Observatory Park to a few snowmobilers at the expense of all other users.  Yes, that’s what’s happening — anytime the “conditions are right,” the only allowed use of Observatory Park will be snowmobiling.

There’s a brick with my name on it at Observatory Park.  That’s because I wanted to share in the vision of a natural, dark-sky park devoted to astronomy and nature.  I wasn’t donating for a snowmobile playground.  So, John Oros, if you want a place where you cans share the joys of snowmobiling with fellow enthusiasts, ante up and buy some land for a snowmobile park — and maybe you can hunt turkeys there too.

You must cease abusing your position to destroy the character of existing parks!  With every donation and tax collection, there is an implied trust that the intended usage will be honored, and you are in violation of that trust!

Bruce Bennett


Categories: News

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