The Summit County Metro Parks is asking voters to support Issue 11, a renewal plus an small additional levy, during the March 17 primary election.
The existing 1.46-mill levy is a renewal, with an additional .54-mill levy for a term of nine years. That means homeowners will continue to pay the same rate on the original 1.46-mill levy, and it will also continue to preserve tax credits from the state.
The current 7-year, 1.46-mill levy was approved by voters in 2006 and renewed in 2013. It expires Dec. 31, 2020. Since 2006, parkland managed by Summit Metro Parks has grown by 50 percent (including five new parks), trail miles have increased by 25 percent and annual visits have grown from 4 million to 5 million each year.
Other additions include a number of new amenities, such as year-round camping (Nimisila Reservoir Metro Park in Green), community gardens (Goodyear Heights Metro Park in Akron) and disc golf (Silver Creek Metro Park in Norton).
According to the parks department, the ballot initiative requests an increase of $1.58 per month for the owner of a $100,000 home. The additional funding is necessary to account for growth and to maintain the existing system of clean and safe parks.
With 16 parks, 150 miles of trail and dozens of free, naturalist-led programs each month, Summit Metro Parks preserves the region's green space, conserves natural resources and provides clean and safe outdoor recreation. Investing in the parks improves the Summit County community’s quality of life. Additionally, Summit Metro Parks locations host 264 rare and endangered species, including 14 globally ranked Red List species, such as tubercled rein-orchids, Great Plains Ladies’-tresses and ginseng.
“At Summit Metro Parks, we’ve been delivering a high-quality park experience for nearly 100 years. We are proud to serve the residents of Summit County and we often hear how much the parks mean to people in our community,” said Executive Director Lisa King. “This ballot initiative allows us to continue that legacy for many years to come.”