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Published: Wednesday, 1/30/2008

Pemberville Park, recreation funds tight

BY CHAUNCEY ALCORN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Pemberville parks and recreation officials will be crossing their fingers this summer, hoping park equipment and facilities don't need repairs because the village has less money to fix them.

After voters rejected a 0.5-mill renewal levy in 2005 and 2006, the parks and recreation program lost about $11,000 in annual revenue.

The village put a new tax levy on the ballot in November at the same millage that would've raised more money than the previous levy because of new property tax appraisals, but voters turned that down too.

As a result, Parks and Recreation Director Keith Madaras said his department has an operating budget of about $6,000.

"In the summer we will have a reduced mowing schedule. We won't cut as much grass as we used to. If we have issues or something with a basketball court we may not be able to replace them," he said.

"It's all speculative because I don't know what kind of issues we're going to face."

The village last year purchased and annexed 10 acres of Freedom Township land along College Avenue, part of which was designated for a new park.

But Mr. Madaras said that park won't be developed any time soon, either.

"I wouldn't say we don't have the money," he said. "Let's just say we don't have very much."

Mr. Madaras said village officials used $60,000 last year to purchase land across the street from the Pemberville Foods warehouse on College Avenue to protect Pemberville's wells and build a new park.

"We also are looking down the road at potential expansion," he said. "That side of town would be a good location eventually for

housing."

Dave Boyk, Pemberville Baseball Softball Association president, has taken notice of the village's budget issues. His organization uses three park baseball diamonds, one owned by the village and two owned by the local school system.

Mr. Boyk said the association raises money itself to help pay for upgrades and repairs.

"We do get support from the town, as well, and hopefully that will continue," he said. "The baseball diamond that's there [in Memorial Park] is part of the park that has the tennis courts and everything else. You want to see that as well maintained as possible."

Mr. Madaras and village councilman David Miesmer said a new proposal for a tax levy could be put on the November ballot.

"We'll take the recommendation of the park and recreation committee and see what council wants to do with it," Mr. Miesmer said.

Contact: Chauncey Alcorn at: calcorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6168



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