Opinion: Great Parks levy will help create a more sustainable region for all

October 25, 2021 11:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Source: Cincinnati.com & The Enquirer

By Ryan Mooney-Bullock

A Great Blue Heron takes flight from the lake at Miami Whitewater Forest in western Hamilton County. Great Parks of Hamilton County is expected to expand the park by 273 acres purchasing adjacent properties. The Enquirer/Patrick Reddy

As Greater Cincinnati’s regional sustainability alliance, Green Umbrella exists to create a resilient and vibrant community where sustainability is woven into our way of life. Preserving greenspace, providing inclusive opportunities for outdoor experiences and increasing access to our regional trails network are three of our core priorities. Because of this commitment, our organization is endorsing the Great Parks of Hamilton County property tax levy on the ballot this November. 

As Hamilton County’s largest land holder, Great Parks plays a critical role in protecting the environmental quality and biological diversity of our entire region. Its forests, wetlands and other ecological features serve as the lungs and sponges for all of us: absorbing carbon and stormwater and sharing clean air and water with all of us. The park system serves as a biological reserve that protects 17,742 acres of land in the county, including 9,800 acres of forest, 2,000 acres of grassland, and 600 acres of wetland. While residents may be most familiar with the "developed" harbors, shelters, playgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities, more than 80% of the land is kept as natural area and managed for biological diversity and benefits of wildlife.

Great Parks of Hamilton County will have public listening sessions throughout March and April. The sessions will provide information on county parks including Withrow Nature Preserve, shown in photo, as well as provide visitors with an opportunity to offer feedback on the parks.

In addition to conserving critical greenspace, Great Parks’ Master Plan is committed to educating the public about the natural environment and what they can do to protect it, increasing the sustainability of the park district’s operations, and increasing access to quality greenspace for all people in our county. All of these goals align directly with the work we at Green Umbrella do every day. (In the interest of full disclosure, Green Umbrella works with Great Parks on a number of projects and Great Parks CEO Todd Palmeter serves on Green Umbrella’s Board of Trustees. He was not involved in the board’s discussion or decision to endorse the levy.)

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