Speak up to protect parks
Thanks to all of you who called and wrote to object to the Observatory Park snowmobile program that was set to allow snowmobile use from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week to the complete exclusion of other users. Today we were informed that the policy has been amended to allow snowmobiling only in daylight hours. It appears that Geauga Park District Director John Oros was forced to alter the policy to prevent bad publicity for Judge Timothy Grendell.
Unfortunately, this move to alter the hours does not make the decision to use snowmobiles at Observatory Parks less damaging. Snowmobile use frequently damages trails, trees and vegetation as property owners throughout the county will attest. Extra ranger hours and maintenance will be required, incurring extra cost. Wildlife habitat will be jeopardized.Plus there are safety and liability issues. But at least the Dark Sky Designation is safe, for now.
This change was not announced at the park board meeting. The board and Mr. Oros declined to discuss the snowmobiling issue (or any issue) during this public meeting, leading the public to ask repeatedly “where and when are discussions taking place?” No answer was given by the board or director.
If you are outraged by the decision to allow snowmobiles in our parks, or by the deliberate lack of transparency employed by this board regarding decisions made about our public parks,please contact the Geauga Park District board and director as well as the judge, through phone calls and letters.
Kathryn Hanratty, Geauga Protect the Parks president
Give public voice at park meetings
“I respectfully propose that now would be a time for the Geauga Park Board to resume the public comment at monthly meetings. We, the public, want to have dialogue with you and would like to do that publicly, rather than through the media.
It would be a positive and respectful move to begin that dialogue. Let us resume the tradition of these great parks of welcoming communication between the public and the board.”
I made this statement to the commissioners of the Geauga Park Board and Director John Oros just prior to the beginning of the board meeting last week. No, I did not have permission to speak, but felt that it had to be said. The meeting lasted a record 8 minutes before adjourning to executive session.
Since the appointment of Jackie Dottore to the position of board president, the board members lips have been sealed – not only is there no public comment from the audience, who are active supporters of the Geauga Park District, the board members themselves do not comment on any park business, ranging from approval of a multi-million dollar budget, to monthly expenditures, to even making positive comments about the many wonderful programs that take place at the parks.
What is it about this (Judge Timothy) Grendell appointed park board that gives itself permission to operate without public input? Are decisions being made behind closed doors or is it that these commissioners just do not care about the preservation of the natural resources to which they are appointed as stewards?
Bring back public comment to the park board meetings and take the time and interest to return phone calls and emails – our questions and comments remain unanswered.
Barb Partington, Munson Township
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