June 2012
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Welcome to the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District

Whatever your age there is something to enjoy by everyone at the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District!  Whether it's fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking, swimming or Frisbee disc golf you can find it at one of our 12 park locations plus so much more!   The parks are open daily year round and locked at dark with the exception of Ottawa Metro Park, which is open 24 hours a day. 





The Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District contributes to the quality of life for Allen County’s citizens. The Park District has been fiscally conservative, providing parks, facilities, and programs at reasonable costs and using local tax dollars to leverage grants, donations, and other outside sources of revenue. It has been 22 years (1993) since additional millage was approved by the voters for the Park District.

The primary objective for the ¾ mill levy on the May 5 ballot is to maintain, protect, improve, renovate, and replace existing facilities and services. Modern restrooms are a priority for replacement.  An additional high priority is to restore the Cooperative Park Improvement Grant Program, a revenue sharing program for capital improvements in the village, township, and city parks all across Allen County. The program was developed in 1993 and made substantial capital improvements in community parks until 2008 when it had to be suspended due to budget cuts. Correcting safety hazards in the community parks is the primary goal of the Cooperative Park Improvement Grant Program.

Also due to budget cuts that will total nearly one-third of the entire budget by 2017, full-time staff has been reduced from 17 to 10. Several positions changed to part-time, while others have been eliminated. Some of those positions will be replaced with the passage of the levy. Additionally, operational procedures will be restored, the most important being the closing of parks and facilities at dusk each evening. Volunteers are trained and used extensively as well, but it takes a professional staff to organize projects and work alongside the volunteers for a successful outcome. Nearly 275 volunteers worked to support the Park District in 2014!

The Park District has grown over its 43 year history with steady, planned additions. Most of the land (70%) controlled by the District has been acquired through long-term no-cost leases, estate gifts of money to purchase land, actual land donations, grants and partnerships (management agreements). Only 30% has been purchased with local tax dollars. The Park District has not pursued land acquisition for many years, but has considered extraordinary opportunities through bequests and grants as they occur.

Most visitors come to the parks to use and enjoy the facilities on their own, while others come for family reunions, parties and special events or to sponsored public programs including Saturday evening amphitheater programs. Visitors use the parks for an exceptionally wide variety of reasons, from exercise to relaxation to picnicking to nature study, boating, fishing and more. Visitors range in age from preschoolers to entire school classes to teens and senior adults. Visitation to the 12 park areas has steadily grown as well. Traffic counters at six main entrances of the park district’s 15 gates show over 655,000 visits were made in 2014.

Budget cuts include the elimination of tangible personal property taxes on industries. This cut started in 2012 and will phase out in 2017 (originally 2020) and will take 19% of the Park District’s tax budget. In addition, the state now keeps most of the local government fund which was $141,000 in 2008 and has declined to $64,000 this year. Decreasing property values and uncollected property taxes comprise the remaining tax revenue losses for the Park District. When inflation is considered since 1993, the Park District has done well to operate professionally to this point with the decreasing funding situation.

An additional issue that has recently been raised is the carryover balance. The Park District has never borrowed money for any project, i.e. we make sure we’re able to complete a project before it is started. We have to maintain a substantial carryover balance for the following reasons, some of which are required by law: Pay January, February, and March bills until the first property tax collection; rainy day fund; employee separation fund (unused vacation and sick time that would be claimed if employees leave service); and encumbered contracts from the previous year. These four items total well over $1 million and there are others, including major projects “on-hold” until the money becomes available to move forward.

When the Park Commissioners (who are unpaid and serve as volunteers) resolved last June to place the ¾ mill levy on the primary ballot next week, I stated that my primary goal was to convey accurate facts to the citizens of Allen County. Throughout the levy campaign, we’ve done our best to do exactly that. We want you to know and understand the facts…all of the facts, and make a responsible decision.

Everyone in Allen County is welcome to use the Parks every day of the year. Please keep one of Allen County’s best assets in great shape for all to enjoy by voting for the ¾ mill levy.

Please contact us if you need further information or have questions. As always, we appreciate your support and we respect the trust that you’ve placed in us. We will continue to honor that trust.





The Ottawa Metro Park Campground located at 2632 Ada Road is now open for the season and remain open through Sun. October 11.





Day Camp 3 


Mark your calendars now for our summer youth program series in the Metro Parks.  Registration begins May 4!


fly tyer 


FLY TYING BASICS                      Tues., Mar. 24, April 28 & May 26 Time: 7 p.m.  Locaiton: McElroy Center 2355 Ada Road, Lima, OH

This is a informal gathering of Fly Tiers and anyone who is interested in learning fly tying basics.  Watch and learn or tie your favorite fly patterns.  Summer session will be held outdoors at local waterways in July, July and August  Registration is required 3 days prior to each of the dates listed.  Please call 419-221-1232 to register.

 2014 Best of Show


The winners of the 38th annual  Nature Photography Contest were announced at the November 9th open house.  Winning entries are now on display at Art Space Lima though mid December.  Congratulations to all winners and participants.  A special thank you to Alloway Environmental Testing for their sponsorship and to Phil Hugo for his judging expertise!                                    



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