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The Suburbanite
  • Small investment for a big return

  • The issue: Issue 55 on Nov. 6 ballot

    Our view: Stark Parks is an unparalleled resource that enhances quality of life

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  • The issue: Issue 55 on Nov. 6 ballot
    Our view: Stark Parks is an unparalleled resource that enhances quality of life
    In a way, Stark Countians’ ballots for the Nov. 6 election save the best for last. The very last issue — Issue 55 — on this long ballot is a levy for the Stark County Park District.
    At a cost of less than $3 per month for many homeowners, Stark County voters can ensure that this unparalleled resource will continue to enhance the quality of life here.
    The Repository editorial board urges voters to pass Issue 55.
    Stark Parks, as the district is better known, is an extraordinary success story. When voters first began supporting it financially, in the late 1980s, it managed parks totaling about 400 acres. Now its facilities — in 26 of the county’s 36 communities — include 7,000 acres, 13 parks and 80 miles of walking and biking trails.
    Approval of Issue 55 will not only fund maintenance and acquisition projects directly, it also will make matching funds for grants available.
    Last May, when the district opened the Hoover Trail in North Canton and the Middle Branch Trail in Plain Township, Stark Parks Director Bob Fonte noted that the $1.5 million cost of the entire 10-mile trail project was covered by both state funds and matching local funds from the district’s 0.5-mill operating levy.
    Stark Parks has faced a steady erosion of state funding in recent years. The current levy provides 95 percent of the district’s revenue, so you can see how critical this local funding is.
    Issue 55, which totals 1 mill, includes renewal of that levy and an additional 0.5 mills. It would be in effect eight years.
    One wonderful result of Stark Parks’ success is that the more opportunities the district creates for recreation and the enjoyment of nature, the more connected Stark County’s communities become.
    The small investment that property owners will make if voters approve the tax on the Nov. 6 ballot will provide an enormous return. Please say yes to Issue 55.