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Commissioners Supportive of Creating a County Park Board

County news # 2The Marshall County Commissioners were asked to consider creating a countywide park board during their meeting on Monday.

Marshall County Circuit Judge Curt Palmer and County Clerk Deb VanDeMark, both appeared before the commissioners but as county citizens, not in their official capacity.  VanDeMark said there’s been a lot of movement in the county in the city and towns with their parks and she felt it could be beneficial for the county to establish a county park board.   She explained that if there was interest in establishing a county park the county park board would be required.

One consideration for a county park in the future could be the 88 acres of the Memorial Forest on State Road 17 and even the 30 acres forested track of land the county owns on Rose Road.

While there is a lot involved in creating a county park board according to Palmer, there are a series of state statutes that spell out the procedure.  He said establishing a county park would allow interaction with the various municipality park boards.

While Palmer is interested in trails for hiking, running and biking trails he said there is no real movement afoot officially to connect the various trails in the county with each other or the trails in surrounding counties with those in Marshall County.  The judge even suggested making improvement to the trails in the Memorial Forest and possibly creating a shelter and maybe even, in the future a kayak launch connected to the river which would connect to the city’s kayak launch.

Palmer said having a formalized county park board would open the door to grant opportunities

State statute requires the commissioners to appoint two members and the county council to appoint two members with each from a different political party.  There is an option to have a fifth member appointed by another elected county official and the commissioners were agreeable to the five member board.  It was noted that none of the commissioners or council members could be on the park board.

Commissioner Overmyer said he’s spoken to the DNR on grant opportunities last year and learned that a park board would be needed to apply.

The park board would not be a paid position and there would be no need for funding except for any local match funds required to receive grant money. Palmer said if facilities were created in the future a superintendent could be hired.

The Marshall County Commissioners were supportive of the idea and asked the county attorney to review the ordinance presented by VanDeMark and Palmer and bring it to their next meeting.

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