Delaware County voters have given their countywide park system the OK to grow at a quicker pace.
Preservation Parks of Delaware County’s board in June voted to place a 10-year, 0.6-mill renewal levy with a 0.3 percent increase before voters on the Nov. 7 ballot.
With all precincts reporting Nov. 7, the levy was approved by a vote of 27,785 to 16,600, or 63 percent to 37 percent, according to final, unofficial results from the Delaware County Board of Elections.
County homeowners pay about $18 annually per $100,000 in property valuation to support the parks system under the current levy, which is set to expire at the end of 2018. They will pay $28.68 per $100,000 in property valuation starting in 2019.
The system’s current levy provides about $3.57 million in annual revenue – about 80 percent of its funding. The proposed levy will bring in an additional $2.1 million per year.
Preservation Parks Executive Director Tom Curtin said the new funding will be key to developing parks and trails more quickly in a county with a highly competitive real-estate market.
“We’re going to move ahead with the plans that we have to continue to acquire more park land and open new parks,” he said.
The levy win comes as park officials are moving forward with multiple new projects.
Preservation Parks owns about 115 acres off Pollock Road, bounded by the Olentangy River to the west and Berlin Station Road to the east. The proposed park – just outside Delaware’s city limits – is about 4 miles from the future site of Olentangy Berlin High School.
The system also is working to acquire and develop 230 acres along Interstate 71 near Bale Kenyon Road in Orange Township and to expand Emily Traphagen Park just west of Powell.
Curtin said a win at the ballot box is a win for those projects.
He said the system also intends to establish a new grant program to give local governments within the county a chance to apply for funding from Preservation Parks to establish new multiuse trail connections.