How’s that working for you now?

In 2015, shortly after the Executive Director and the then (competent) Board of Commissioners were forced out and replaced by Grendell lackeys, the Geauga Park District initiated a campaign to erect playground equipment and other structures that were not in keeping with the Park District’s primary mission. The installations were built in several parks, including one in Bass Lake Preserve that was later removed under order from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Here’s how those installations look today.

Each playground cost the taxpayers of Geauga County at least $50,000 plus an additional unknown amount for the removal of the facility from Bass Lake. While no one could have predicted the disruptions we are currently experiencing because of the COVID-19 crisis, it is certainly ironic that all of the costly and narrowly targeted “activity” installations within the parks are currently unavailable for public use, while all the trails, forests, lakes and meadows are not only open and available, but are seen as an important and welcome outlet for all of us currently under severe social restrictions because of the pandemic. It makes one wonder what could have been had the parks administration followed the founding mission of the Park District rather than use the parks to dole out favors to narrow constituencies and political contributors.

Protect Geauga Parks endorses and supports Matt Rambo for Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge in the March 17 Republican Primary election.
Please request a Republican Party ballot and vote for Matt Rambo.

Note that the primary election is now open for absentee voting ONLY. Request an absentee ballot from the Geauga County Board of Elections. Ballots must be mailed back to the Board of Elections by April 27, 2020.

Geauga County Board of Elections

470 Center Street, Building #6-A
Chardon, Ohio 44024


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5 replies »

  1. Last year I took my grandkids canoeing and birding at Russell Park. Afterword we had a picnic in the shelter and the kids played on the playground equipment. What is the issue?

    Bob Faber,


    • The issue is hundreds of thousands of tax dollars spent on facilities that are little used even in normal times and are totally off-limits now. The picture above is from Swine Creek Reservation. I’ve walked past this playground hundreds of times since it was built at all times of the week and have never once seen it in use. A few yards away, what was once the monarch butterfly tagging field was mowed down and converted to a “ball field.” This field shows no signs of being used for baseball, which is understandable because of the large areas of standing water that cover it for all but a few weeks of the year.

      The point is that these facilities were not constructed because the public asked for them or that playgrounds did not already exist in the parks. They were built as a way to provide favors for narrow constituencies and business interests who would return the favor in some way. All the while, the conservation and educational programs that are at the core of the purpose of the Park District are allowed to fade.

      There is much more to this story. I suggest reading through the PUBLIC DOCUMENTS section of this website.


  2. I too see little use of playground equipment when I visit selected Geauga or Lake County Parks. I usually avoid the parks on weekends and holidays. I guess the same could be said for the restrooms and the shelters. (Except now with the pandemic).Even in the tiny village of Hiram where I live I see little use of the local play grounds but all of my neighbors use them and love them. My random sampling is not a very scientific way to judge.

    I was appalled by the erection of equipment at Bass Lake, the mowing at Frohring, and other inappropriate actions. I prefer my parks wild and empty, but having playground equipment and shelters is an attraction for some to visit the parks who might not be outdoor inclined. Maybe their kids might want to go to the parks more often and maybe the parents will see the need for protected spaces. It has to start somewhere.

    I have a question about the statement about those who might receive favors because of the recreational facilities. That seems like a wash. Please site some examples.

    I take strong exception that the conservation and educational programs are being allowed to fade. That is an insult to the talented and knowledgeable naturalists.


    • While the playground equipment undoubtedly does see some use from time to time, I seriously doubt that it attracts more visitors to the parks. I have seen many times how families will be enjoying a picnic in the nearby shelter, and children ignore the playground equipment and enjoy themselves by playing around the pond or one of the trails. In the years to come, will your grandchildren remember the times you took them to the park for a canoe trip on the lake, or will they talk about the swings?

      My statement about the programs being allowed to fade was not intended to be a slight to the naturalists, all of whom have been doing a wonderful job under difficult circumstances. It rather was a reference to the fact that, through retirements and other attrition, there are several fewer naturalists on staff today than there were in 2014. We also do not have an assistant director, and three administrative positions were eliminated for reasons that were never explained.

      And the favors are never a wash. The owner of the company that transports the sand and gravel (the largest single vendor to the Park District) is now a member of the board. Several of his company’s trucks have been traveling the county for years now wrapped with pictures of Judge Grendell—traveling campaign billboards.

      These are just the tip of an iceberg. Read the PUBLIC DOCUMENTS section.


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