XENIA — Greene County voters approved a new parks levy Tuesday. According to unofficial results, the levy passed by about 900 votes of about 46,600 total votes.
The levy – a new five-year, .9 mill parks levy put on the ballot on by the Greene County Park District – will bring in about $3.3 million annually to the district and will cost taxpayers $31.50 per $100,000 of appraised property value annually, according to Greene County Auditor information.
“The natural resources of Greene County offer a wealth of opportunity to our residents,” Greene County Park District President John Finlay said in a release. “Whether it’s through improving our quality of life or positively impacting our local economy, a strong parks and trails program has proven to improve the quality of life for all residents. We are so grateful that voters value the work of Greene County Parks & Trails and chose to support our efforts with their vote.”
With the funds, the district will set in on deferred maintenance projects (district literature previously said it had more than $800,000 worth of projects), including work on the Indian Mound Reserve bridge over Massie Creek; siding and roofing for the Narrows Reserve Nature Center; development at the Russ Nature Reserve; spraying honeysuckle at Russ Nature Reserve, Creekside Reserve and other locations; removal of ash trees fatally impacted by the emerald ash borer; and planting of tree seedlings to reforest the gaps created by the ash tree removal.
The district was coming to voters because, according to levy promotional literature, the district relies on state funding for 75 percent of its budget, “but that funding has been cut by more than half over the last several years.”
“We have literally run out of funds and we have a big build up of maintenance that needs to be done and that’s basically just short of a million dollars,” Finlay said previously. “A lot of it will be used for regular maintenance and for operations, but a significant amount will be for capital improvements and so on.”
According to Greene County Parks & Trails Director Chrisbell Bednar, $1 million of the annual funds would be designated by the district for trail maintenance, $1 million of the funds would be used for capital improvements and the remaining portion would be used for day-to-day operations and for the park district to cover its share of the park management agreement it has with the Greene County Commissioners.