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Ridgeville Trustees Put Park Before Voters




The Ridgeville Township Trustees took the first step toward creating a park in the unincorporated community of Ridgeville Corners, Monday night, Aug. 6.

The trustees appointed a park board of commissioners, with members Barry Ranzau, who will serve a three-year term, Mark Stockman, two years, and Jayma Gobrogge, one year.

The newly-named park board of commissioners submitted their report on the cost of establishing a park. It had been prepared by a group of concerned citizens, who have been advocating the establishment of a park on property owned by the Christ Community Church.

However, the trustees made their actions contingent on the answer to a question over election procedures.

Under the Ohio revised Code, there are two options for establishing parks. Under the option chosen by the Ridgeville trustees, the question of whether or not a park should be established must be put before voters.

A letter from John Hanna, Henry County prosecuting attorney, states the township fiscal officer must give 30 days notice of the election.

The letter states that a request to place the question on the ballot must be filed with the county board of elections “not later than 4 pm 75 days before the election.” That cutoff is Thursday, Aug. 23.

The question: must the 30 days be observed before the 75- day time period, or can the two time periods be observed during the same time?

If the 30 days must go before the 75, then there isn’t enough time to put this issue on the fall election ballot.

If the two time periods can be observed at the same time, there is sufficient time to get the issue on the ballot.

There was also a question concerning whether the park question could be placed on a spring primary election ballot or whether it could only appear during a fall general election.

If the park question can only appear in the fall, and if the deadline for this year’s general election has passed, then the park question must wait a full year.

Ready

Hanna said in his letter, the park question probably wouldn’t make the fall ballot, because the law requires a study be completed.

“We’re ready to roll,” Stockman told the trustees.

“The report and the cost (estimate to establish a park) are complete. As soon as you name a park board, we can sign it.

“The main thing is putting it out for the people to decide,” he said.

The report filed by park board of commissioners noted the cost of the land, approximately 2 acres southwest of the church, would be zero dollars.

Church officials have offered to donate the land for the park.

The citizens group also obtained a survey of the property for free. The estimated legal fees, fees for a lot split, and rezoning total $800.

Stockman said the board wanted to proceed with the park this year. Bruce Hesterman, township trustee, said the church offer was a five-year commitment.

Stockman said the five-year time limit is for the establishment of the park. The church offer could be withdrawn.

Ed Nagel, Ridgeville Township zoning inspector, asked about a zoning permit for a park. He said a conditional use permit for a park may not be granted.

Stockman said the park board of commissioners cannot apply for the special use permit until they officially own the land “unless you allow us to apply for the permit before we get the property.”

Levy Question?

Larry Wendt, trustee, asked how people will feel if the park question passes by 52% of the vote.

Roger Miller, trustee, said if the margin in favor of the park was small, would Ridgeville Township voters approve a property tax levy to fund the operation and maintenance of the park?

Ranzau said he had found that it would could $40 to $50 a month to mow and trim the park. The lowest cost he found for insurance was about $1,800 per year.

The next meeting of the Ridgeville Township Trustees was changed to 8 pm Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the Ridgeville Corners Fire Department Hall.- David Pugh


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