Park district receives 23.4-acre donation

By Melanie Yingst -

MIAMI COUNTY —The Miami County Park District accepted the donation of 23.41 acres of woods from Terry and Sandra Netzley of Union Township on Tuesday.

The board approved the donation at its regular meeting. Terry Netzley formerly served on the park district board including his tenure as vice president. The land is located off of Horseshoe Bend Road with easement access from Greenlee Road. Executive Director Scott Myers said the land is wooded and free from evasive species. Myers said the wooded area will remain in conservation and would not be open for public use at this time. The contract for the donation will be reviewed by the park district’s legal counsel, then reviewed by the Miami County Probate Court for final approval.

The board authorized Myers to apply for a Clean Ohio grant to acquire 50.53 acres of property between the Maple Ridge and Stillwater Prairie parks. The 50-acre property is currently owned by the Matthew Berning family, which has offered the land for sale to the park district for $340,000. Myers said the purchase of the property is pending grant approval which the park district would pay 25 percent, or approximately $85,000, of the cost. The property would connect the two existing parks at the Stillwater River with future walking trails to connect the three parcels. The board approved to purchase the property contingent on the Clean Ohio grant award. The agreement also includes the park district to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Public Works Commission upon approval.

The board approved authorization for the park district to apply for a Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) grant through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission to construct a 3.5-mile multi-use trail between Troy-Sidney Road and Casstown-Sidney Road. If the grant is awarded, the Troy-Sidney to Casstown-Sidney trail construction and its pending parcel acquisitions will not come to fruition until 2023-2024, Myers said. The authorization also includes the park district to enter in to any and all contracts and agreements upon the grant application approval.

The district will know by next month if they will be awarded a grant from Clean Ohio to connect the Garbry Big Woods, located on Casstown-Sidney Road, to Fletcher village along the abandoned railway. Construction on that portion of the trail could commence as early as 2020. Myers said the trail project to connect Piqua to Fletcher will cost the park district $200,000 of the proposed $1.9 million project cost. The Troy-Sidney to the village of Fletcher trail will utilize the abandoned railway for the majority of the trail. The majority of the funding will be through grants such as the Clean Ohio grants and other regional funding to connect the trail from Piqua to Fletcher. The park district’s Garbry Big Woods Reserve and Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary on Statler Road is located in the multi-use trail in its center.

The park district board approved the following resolutions:

• Authorization to enter into an agreement with Sustainable Streams LLC to complete Tasks 1 through 3 of the Professional Services agreement for the Duke Park property. The company will apply for grants on behalf of the park district and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to create a habitat and water protection flood plain plan for the riverway near Duke Park.

• The park district entered into a contract with the Miami County Sheriff’s Department to provide law enforcement services to the park district.

• The board gave its authorization to enter into a contract with the Banana Slug String Band to create two Habitat Heroes — Hug the Pollinators pollinator-themed compositions. Cinda Hambuch-Pinkerton, director of education for the Miami County Parks District, said the California-based band recently received a $25,000 grant to write six songs for its educational CD. The funding for the two songs, $8,000, will be coming from grants, Hambuch-Pinkerton said. The park district would be allowed to use the music to use with its elementary education programs.

• The board gave its authorization to enter into an agreement with Wagner Paving, Inc. to chip-seal approximately 5,782 square yards of existing parking lot at Stillwater Prairie Reserve.

By Melanie Yingst