GPD To Participate In Road Funding Program
March 23, 2023 by Private: Brian Doering

The Geauga Park District Board of Commissioners hit the pavement March 20, approving the district’s participation in an Ohio Department of Transportation program to fund future road improvement projects.

The Geauga Park District Board of Commissioners hit the pavement March 20, approving the district’s participation in an Ohio Department of Transportation program to fund future road improvement projects.

During the meeting, commissioners passed a resolution allowing GPD Deputy Director Matthew McCue to submit the required paperwork for the ODOT Ohio Park Districts Roadway Fund program prior to a June 1 deadline.

“The Geauga Park District has participated in this funding program over the past 15 years,” said GPD Executive Director John Oros. “Improvement projects have consisted of stone and asphalt materials and labor used to resurface roads and parking lots throughout the district.”

Funding for potential road projects is for fiscal year 2024 through 2025.

Funds can be used for materials and labor necessary for the construction or reconstruction of park drives, roads, new or replacement bridges, park access roads and parking lots, as well as the cost for hauling materials and equipment rental, according to the resolution.

Ineligible costs include bikeways and items such as shelter houses, wells, pumps, restroom facilities and park buildings. All projects must be associated with public vehicular access to be eligible for funding and funds may be used for eligible construction costs, according to the resolution.

The park district would pay all costs incurred over the appropriated allocation and for all costs associated with design, environmental studies and documents, as well as right-of-way activities. Any deviation from the guidelines regarding environmental studies or roadway design would require written approval from ODOT, the resolution said.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to participate for a number of years. It’s nice to have that allocation through ODOT,” Oros added.

Park commissioners also approved a motion to appoint Administrative Assistant Jessica Alpers to the position of GPD secretary.

“The board and I look forward to working alongside Jessica. Since her time with Geauga Park District, Jessica has proven herself,” Oros said. “She keeps accurate records and is organized. She is a hard-working and a dedicated member of our team.”

The appointment of a park secretary is required, according to Article II of the district’s bylaws.

The secretary is responsible for recording the park commissioners’ board meeting minutes.

Oros said Alpers’ hourly rate would be $19.95 for both roles.

“Jessica has a background in customer service and a variety of duties as an administrative assistant. We are confident,” Oros said. “Jessica is succeeding in a variety of administrative and visitor service roles. She has received a number of compliments from park users and our staff for her work ethic, dedication and timely customer service.”

In other business, park Commissioner Howard Bates addressed public concerns about board members doing business with the park district.

“My company bid on the aggregate bid this year and several times before. This year, we were the low bidder at approximately 6%,” Bates said. “It’s a competitive bid. Our company is made up of a lot of local people that live in Geauga County that pay taxes in Geauga County. This is frustrating when people complain. They don’t think we should bid.”

Bates addressed the rumor of bids being rejected for Asphalt Improvements to the Swine Creek Reservation because of cash flow.

“That is not true. There was some design questions,” Bates said. “Since that time, McCue has had several people out looking at projects, coming up with different ideas.”

McCue said alternatives have been looked into and GPD would be looking to rebid.

“The previous engineer’s estimate when we bid the first time was posted at $250,000. When we rebid it, it’s probably going to be closer to $200,000,” McCue said. “The project is going to move forward.”