GREENVILLE — “We look forward to 2017 as one of the most productive years on record for the Darke County Park District,” district Director Roger Van Frank said.
To help that come true, the park district is asking for the community’s help. People are dumping trash on the park areas that volunteers spend so much time and effort up-keeping. From snack wrappers and bottles to construction and household trash, great efforts are made towards its removal, according to Van Frank.
“Each year the park district is forced to spend more than $1,000 in taxpayers’ money to clean up and remove trash dumped on park property,” he said. “We need the general public’s help in matters like this. My one request is that if park visitors see something that is out of place then say something or contact the Sheriff or the Greenville City Police Department, if the park is located within the city. Also remember that 911 works for any emergency call within all of the county parks. You will be directed to the appropriate authorities.”
Recently, Winterrowd Wetlands on State Route 47, just west of Ansonia, was the victim of another dumping, Van Frank said. A pile of broken concrete and trash were dumped near the parking area. This dumping was in direct violation of not only the park district’s rules rules and regulations, but also of the Ohio Revised Code.
It is illegal to dump trash, household goods, yard waste, construction materials, or other refuse on park property. This is the second case of dumping on park property in two years, and each time an issue like this arises, every attempt is made to locate, charge, and prosecute the person responsible, Van Frank explained. The dumping usually happens happens around the first of the month, as people move in and out of rental properties.
“We ask those people that use the parks to be our eyes and ears for issues and situations that we may not be immediately aware,” Van Frank said. “Parks are open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year, and if individuals are in the parks after the posted hours of sunrise to sunset, they can be cited into court on trespassing charges under the Ohio Revised Code.”
Just this past week the district utilized 24 hours of community service from the Darke County Municipal Court, according to Van Frank. Workers cleaned an area that had more than 100 pounds of dumped household trash and another park where someone had dumped some light construction trash.
“Both of these events required the personnel time of staff, vehicle travel and cost to have dumpsters emptied,” Van Frank said. “There is also the always-present danger of illegal activities, such as a portable meth labs and the affluent garbage from those activities that require special assistance from the Sheriff’s Department. Tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible may carry a reward.”
To report any suspicious activity in the parks during business hours, please call the Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center, 937-548-0165. After hours call the Darke County Sheriff’s Office at 937-548-2020.
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