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Friends of Metro Parks president urges levy support

10/17/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

We have a decision to make: Do we continue to fund Metro Parks, Serving Summit County as we have? My hope and encouragement as a voter and president of Friends of Metro Parks is that we decide correctly — pass Issue No. 2.

Issue No. 2 is the funding levy for our county park district. This is a renewal levy, meaning that it is not a new tax and property owners continue to pay the same amount based on their property’s valuation.

Six years ago, the park district asked voters for the current funding level on a promise that it would expand its offerings to more county residents and improve its existing lands.

Friends of Metro Parks watches the park district closely serving as a voice for concerned citizens relating to our Summit County parklands. During these past six years, we can assuredly say that the district has been fulfilling its promise.

It opened two new parks in communities without close park access (with more to come). It completed the Towpath Trail in Summit County and began work on the multipurpose Freedom Trail to link Downtown Akron with Kent. It repaired and renovated many of its existing facilities, including the nature center at Nature Realm.

It has plans to continue this progress and development. But the district needs to maintain its funding levels to fulfill its plans and promises to the voters. We endorse these plans and encourage the voters to as well.

Our tax investment is well placed because the park district is a good steward of our public resources. The park district provides us with a clean, natural backyard. It also provides us with protected conservation areas that will serve as an example of undeveloped, pristine Summit County land for our generations to come.

The 5.2 million park visits last year show that our parks are an asset to us. Particularly as our National Park Systems remain closed [due to the federal government shutdown], our park district, Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, is open with all of its programming and amenities carrying on.

I, and the rest of the board members of Friends of Metro Parks, encourage you to vote “Yes” on Issue No. 2 on Nov. 5. Thank you.

Allan Sweet, president, Friends of Metro Parks, West Akron

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