Miami County Parks announce plans

By Melanie Yingst -

MIAMI COUNTY —The Miami County Parks District will begin several capital improvement projects in 2019.

This first project will be adding an operations department barn to the former caretaker’s property at Lost Creek Reserve. The 60-foot-by-40-foot pole barn for the park rangers and operations departments will be used to store and repair equipment.

At its Dec. 18 meeting, the parks district board approved to enter into an agreement with Candace Goodall Architect to develop the construction plans for the operations maintenance building. Choice One Engineering will be providing the site work. The first phase of the project will begin in 2019 and an office space and meeting room will be added in 2020.

The operations department moved to the caretaker’s property a year ago, said Executive Director Scott Myers. Employees were formerly working in the garage area of the Knoop home, which houses the administrative offices. The cost of the project will be approximately $160,000.

The district will also begin design for the recreation trail from the village of Fletcher to the Big Woods property located at Statler Road and Casstown Sidney. The district owns the former railroad right-of-way for the planned 3.5-mile trail, which will connect to the Garbry Big Woods parks. Construction is expected to begin in 2020.

The district will also be adding trails to its recently acquired 50-acre Berning property which will link the Stillwater Prairie and Maple Ridge parks in 2019. The trail will also feature a treetop rope bridge to span the Stillwater River between the properties. The project was funded by the Clean Ohio grant, which paid approximately 75 percent of the land acquisition and improvements to the property. The total cost of the project, including land acquisition, natural resources work and trails was $513,566, with the grant paying for $384,781.

Another addition to the Lost Creek Reserve and Knoop Agricultural Heritage Center is a restroom and office facility to be added in the near future. The board and administration are currently looking at the design and feasibility of expanding the project to add a 5,000-square-foot community center which could house programs under roof. Myers said the park district’s only indoor meeting space is the Lost Creek Reserve’s cabin, which holds up to 20 people. The community center addition, if added to the project, would be designed to hold up to 100 people. The community hall would house indoor education, field trips and allow expanded participation in programming.

At the Dec. 18 meeting, Goodall presented her construction and material projections for the community center/hall, which could cost more than $1.4 million. Goodall said rising material costs plus prevailing wage were factors in the estimate. The cost of the restroom and office facility alone would be approximately $420,000. Myers said the facility, whichever design is approved, would be located along the drive leading up to the Knoop home and administrative offices. The design would match the buildings located on the property. The wish list for the community center includes a kitchen and a storage area, along with the restrooms and office space. Myers said the district will continue to research the facility and its feasibility to add the community hall space to the design, which would begin in 2020.

Also at the Dec. 18 meeting, following an executive session, parks board commissioners approved Myers’ salary at $106,000 per year and Deputy Director Kevin Swanson at $96,000 per year.

By Melanie Yingst

Reach the writer at 937-552-2204.

Reach the writer at 937-552-2204.