ASHLAND -- The Ashland County Park District recently released a recap of its 2018-2019 projects, highlighting the improvements made at county parks over the past two years.
In 2019, the district took steps to acquire land for a new park, replaced the boardwalk entrance to the Audubon Wetlands Preserve, director Stephanie Featheringill explained.
"In December and January, we sit down and we talk about what projects we'd like to do in the following year, and we prioritize and make a list
"Sometimes things come up. Projects are donated and are impromptu, but we set out with a plan."
In 2019, improvements made by the county's park district included:
1. The addition of a gazebo to a future park
The Ashland County Park District is in the process of acquiring approximately 120 acres of land located near the intersection of State Route 60 and 1754 through Clean Ohio.
About 80 acres will become a new park, and the other 40 acres, located across a road, will become part of Byers Woods.
Earlier this year, a gazebo was donated by North Central Hospital and placed on the portion that will become a new park.
Featheringill is optimistic that the land could be acquired before the end of December.
2. The installation of new playground fence at Freer Field
3. A new playground at Sauers Farm
Featheringill said the previous playground was only designed for a small group of children.
"There'd be 30 kids at a playground for four people," she said.
Additionally, picnic benches were added nearby.
4. A newly paved parking lot and driveway at the fire company cabin
5. Improved access and fish stock at Byers Woods and several other parks
6. A new boardwalk entrance at the Audubon Wetlands Preserve
Featheringill says this was the "largest scale project" in 2019.
"We seemed that one as the most important because the boardwalk is the only entrance to the Audubon," she said.
7. A newly paved Black Fork parking lot
8. A new visitor's guide
The new visitor's guide includes more detailed descriptions of the parks and a scenery picture from each.
In 2018, improvements made by the county's park district included:
1. A new playground and pavilion at Byers Woods
2. A new one-mile paved trail at Byers Woods
3. New decking, stairs and railings on the observation tower at Byers Woods
In 2018, the largest improvement was the "complete overhaul" of Byers Woods, Featheringill said.
"Everytime I go there the parking lot is at least half full," she continued.
4. Made adaptive bikes available to Ashland County
This has further expanded since 2018 with a "Me Too Adventure Club."
5. Added maps and signs at all County Parks
6. Added restrooms and paved parking lot at Sauers Farm
7. Installed new roof on the observation deck at the Black Fork Bottoms
"The bird observation tower, being outside it needed a roof replacement," Featheringill said.
The district plans to repaint it and repair the side in the future.