Special Board Meeting May 19 at 10:00 a.m.

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The Clermont County Park Board will hold a Special Board Meeting Wednesday, May 19th at 10:00 a.m. at Pattison Park Lodge. Meeting will convene to go into Executive Session under Ohio Revised Code section 121.22g1, to discuss employee actions concerning hiring, discipline & termination.

Clingman to retire as Clermont County Park District director

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Chris Clingman, who has led the Clermont County Park District for more than 21 years, has decided to retire as its director later this year. The Board of Park Commissioners will begin a search for his replacement immediately and Clingman will remain director through the transition, then move to a special projects management position with the district.

Clingman was named director in 1999, inheriting a staff of just seven employees with a budget funded primarily through fees and property taxes. In his two decades here, Clingman has more than quintupled the size of the park district from 180 to nearly 1,000 acres, brought in more than $15 million in grants and donations, and spearheaded a successful levy campaign that ensured the park district’s continued growth and financial stability.

“Chris is the face of the park district here in Clermont County and his legacy will forever be the outstanding group of parks he has helped to create from Chilo Lock 34 Park along the Ohio River to our newest acquisition, the Stricker property just west of Pattison Park,” Dave Anspach, chairman of the Board of Park Commissioners said. “These parks improve the quality of life for everyone and attract new investment in Clermont County.”

During Clingman’s tenure as director, Sycamore Park was expanded and the adjacent Wilson Nature Preserve was acquired, Shor Park was established, the Williamsburg-to-Batavia bike trail was developed, a long-abandoned powerhouse at Chilo Lock 34 Park was refurbished and converted into a museum and visitor center, boat ramps were built at Chilo and Kelley Nature Preserve, land was acquired to create Wach’s Nature Preserve and 10 Mile Creek Preserve and – most recently – plans were commenced to create a new 112-acre park at Grailville in northern Miami Township.

Clingman, who came to Clermont County from Darke County where he’d served as the chief naturalist, has 43 years of experience in parks and he isn’t hanging it up just yet. The board has asked him to stay on to help the next director transition and work on a number of special projects that need attention.

 

“There is a lot on the table right now that’s really exciting as the park district continues to grow and improve,” Clingman said. “I look forward to helping the new park director keep this momentum going.”

Special Board Meeting March 24 at 10:30 a.m.

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The Clermont County Park Board will hold a Special Board Meeting Wednesday March 24, 2021 at 10:30 a.m., at Pattison Park Lodge. Meeting will convene to go into Executive Session under Ohio Revised Code section 121.22g1, to discuss employee actions concerning hiring, discipline & termination.

Special Board Meeting and March Board Meeting Change

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The Clermont County Park Board will hold a Special Board Meeting Tuesday March 2, 2021 at Noon, at Pattison Park Lodge. Meeting will convene to go into Executive Session under Ohio Revised Code section 121.22g1, to discuss employee actions concerning hiring, discipline & termination.

Additionally, the date of the regular monthly board meeting for March has been moved to Thursday March 18th at noon. Normally, the park board conducts public meetings at noon on the second Thursday of each month, usually at Pattison Park Lodge. For more information, or to be included on the agenda, call 513-732-2977.

After Over 20 Years, New Faces on Clermont County Park Board

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Clermont County Probate Judge James A. Shriver has appointed two new members to the Clermont County Board of Park Commissioners. John Stowell, a long-time resident of Miami Township, and Andrew McAfee, a life-time resident of Union Township have joined David Anspach, who has served on the board since 1997. This year, Anspach will serve as chairman and Stowell as vice chairman.

Stowell and McAfee fill the seats left open by long-time board members Ken Stewart and William Stearns, both of whom retired at the end of 2020.

John Stowell

John is retired from Duke Energy where he served in a number of executive positions, including leading the company’s government affairs, energy and environmental policy and international policy groups. In his 28 years with the company, he worked with Congress to help shape the Clean Air Act of 1990 and repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. John is originally from Buchanan, Michigan and is a 1975 graduate of Michigan State University, where he majored in journalism. Currently, John lives in Miami Township just outside of Loveland with his wife Marlene. They have two grown children, Maria and Stephen.

Stowell, who describes himself as an avid bicyclist and outdoors lover, said he was anxious, upon his retirement, to contribute toward improving the community. The opening on the park board, he said, provided that opportunity. “My goal as a board member is to help and improve and grow our outstanding county park system,” he said. “I am particularly excited about our latest addition at Grailville, which will bring recreational and educational opportunities to residents in the northern part of our county.”

Andrew McAfee

McAfee is currently the Director of Government Affairs for the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the Chamber, he was Congressman Brad Wenstrup’s Field Representative in Clermont County and, during the recent election, took a leave of absence to serve as his campaign manager. Adopted as a baby from Honduras, Andrew is a lifelong resident of Clermont County and currently resides in Union Township. He is a graduate of Glen Este High School, the University of Cincinnati, and is currently working towards a Master’s in Public Administration at Eastern Kentucky University.

Andrew’s interest in Clermont County parks goes back to his childhood. “Growing up, I was a frequent visitor of the parks throughout Clermont County. During the stay-at-home order early last year, I really got to know all of the parks even better as an alternative to the gym. When I saw the opportunity to join the Board, I thought it would be a great way to protect and promote the parks that I have grown to love throughout my life.

“As a young professional in Clermont County, I’m really looking forward to working with the Parks team on ways to promote and highlight all of the great things our parks have to offer, especially to millennials and young families. We have so much to offer here in Clermont County and I cannot wait to help showcase all of our great parks!”

All three commissioners serve three-year terms without pay and provide stewardship over Clermont County’s six parks, three nature preserves, the Williamsburg-Batavia bike trail and several green spaces.

 

Special Board Meeting February 17 at Noon

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The Clermont County Park Board will hold a Special Board Meeting February 17, 2021 at Noon, at Pattison Park Lodge. Meeting will convene to go into Executive Session under Ohio Revised Code section 121.22g1, to discuss employee actions concerning hiring, discipline & termination.

Looking back on 50 years

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The past year, our 50th year anniversary, wasn’t quite what we’d expected. As we begin the new year, we take a look back at our once big plans for 2020 and new hopes for the future. For 50 years we’ve been intertwined in the fabric of Clermont County, and we hope to continue to preserve and protect Clermont County’s natural resources for many years to come.

Read more about us and the past 50 years of Park District growth in our 50th Anniversary Booklet below. Even though we didn’t get to give these booklets out at park celebrations as planned, we would love for you to take a look!

Here’s to a Happy New Year!

Robin Green, Lead Naturalist

 

 

Gateway to the Great Outdoors: Celebrating 50 Years

For 50 years we’ve been intertwined in the fabric of the Clermont County, one of the institutions helping raise the quality of life for our residents and visitors. For 50 years we’ve provided places where individuals, families and friends can get outside, get active and create lasting memories.

For half a century – as our mission statement says – we’ve worked “to acquire, plan, develop, program and maintain park property in the county for residents and nonresidents alike. To secure the preservation of open space and places of scenic or historic value.”

In 1970 – when the average gallon of gas cost 36 cents – the Park District existed only on paper. It took two years for the former Rotary Club Park in Batavia to be called Sycamore Park and open to the public.

Sycamore remains our biggest – and busiest – park. But we’ve grown to include the adjacent Wilson Nature Preserve, Pattison Park in Owensville, Hartman Log Cabin in Jackson Township, Chilo Lock 34 Park and Visitors Center (and the adjacent Crooked Run Nature Preserve), Kelley Nature Preserve in Miami Township, Shor Park in Union Township and the Williamsburg-Batavia Hike/Bike Trail.

We have partnerships with the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District and the Office of Environmental Quality to protect county waterways and make permanent green spaces.

Clermont County voters overwhelmingly approved a .5-mil, 10-year tax levy in 2016. We are proud of the tangible results produced so far with our strategic stewardship of those funds. Highlights include new picnic shelters, restrooms and playgrounds at Shor, Sycamore and Pattison parks; restoration and painting of the iconic water tower at Chilo Lock 34 Park; upgrades to HVAC and lighting systems at Pattison Lodge, Hartman Log Cabin and the Chilo Lock 34 Park Visitors Center; and the acquisition of 134 acres and buildings on the former Stricker property next to Pattison Park, where we’re making plans for a new Park District headquarters. We look forward to creating new facilities and opportunities at 10-Mile Creek Preserve in Pierce Township and the Grailville Preserve in Loveland. We’re grateful for the first 50 years and hope read more…

The Common Evergreen Tree

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Pine, spruce, cedar, fir, hemlock. All of these are evergreen trees but most do not grow naturally in Clermont County. Almost all of our evergreen trees were brought here from somewhere else.

Except for two. Those are the Eastern Redcedar and Northern White-cedar. Instead of the sharp needles you see on pines and many other evergreen trees, their branches bear scale-like leaves that are flattened tightly against the stem. Unless it was planted, almost every cedar tree you’ll find in Clermont County will be the Eastern Redcedar. If you want to be sure, look closely at the scale-like foliage. The White-cedar will have more flattened, denser foliage than the Redcedar.

The Northern White-cedar is rare in the county but you can see the Eastern Redcedar all over the place including at our parks. Known as pioneer trees, Eastern Redcedar are often the first trees to start growing on an empty patch of land. That’s why you’ll find them along highways and in overgrown fields. And this is great for wildlife! Birds and other wildlife use cedar trees year-round for shelter from predators and bad weather.

It may be important to note that neither Redcedar or White-cedar is technically a true cedar (although I’m happy to call them cedars). Cedar trees from the Cedrus genus are not native to North America at all and tend to grow in some mountainous regions of Eurasia.

Whether you bring a live tree inside for the holidays or just enjoy their sharp scent while out on a hike, enjoy the evergreens!

New mileage markers at the Williamsburg to Batavia Hike-Bike trail

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An example of the old, faded mileage markers (left), Brendan painting the last marker (center), and part of the team painting a marker (right).

Visitors to the Williamsburg to Batavia Hike-Bike trail will find it easier to navigate their way. Brendan Baker, and his team from Williamsburg Troop 84, painted 60 new mileage markers along the trail for his Eagle Scout project.

He believes the mileage markers will help keep people using the trail safer. “My dad is a firefighter and we thought it would be easier for bikers that have wrecked on the trail” said Brendan. With obvious mileage markers, hikers and bikers can provide the nearest marker number when providing their location. They brought the project to Park District Deputy Director, Tim Carr, who enthusiastically agreed with the idea as the old markers were quite faded.

Brendan with help from his troop, troop leader, and dad spent a total of 111.5-man hours to complete the project. Using long-lasting highway paint, they placed mileage markers every tenth of a mile for the entire 6-mile length of the current trail. Every marker is surrounded by a black box to make the number stand out and help people see where they are going.

Brendan enjoyed the project and especially hearing from “a lot of the nice people that we met on the trail” he said. Many of them were excited to hear that soon they’ll be able to calculate how many miles they’ve been walking on the trail. We at the Park District are so grateful to Brendan and all of Williamsburg Troop 84 for making our trail safer and more enjoyable to use.

Recycle holiday lights while visiting the park

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Help us to keep holiday lights out of landfills. We’re partnering with Clermont SWCD, Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District, Cincinnati Nature Center, Pierce Township and Cohen Recycling making it easier to be green over the holiday season.

Now that's a bright ideaAnytime until Feb. 1 2020, free recycling of broken or unwanted holiday lights will be provided at the following Clermont County locations:

  • Sycamore Park, 4082 State Route 132, Batavia, OH 45103

  • Shor Park, 4659 Tealtown Road, Milford 45150

  • Chilo Lock 34 Park, 521 County Park Road, Chilo, OH 45112

  • Pierce Township Administration Office, 950 Locust Corner Road, New Richmond 45157

  • Clermont SWCD/Agricultural Service Center, 1000 Locust Street, Owensville 45160 (Fairgrounds)

  • Clermont County Water Resources , 4400 Haskell Lane, Batavia 45103

  • Cincinnati Nature Center, 4949 Tealtown Road, Milford 45150

If you’re not in Clermont County, check www.cohenusa.com/lights to find a location closest to you. All kinds of string lights are accepted during this event, including traditional and LED-style bulbs. Please place lights only in marked recycling bins, no pre-lit trees or wreaths.