Lawrence Township hears plan for golf course sale

Lawrence Township hears plan for golf course sale
Submitted

Wilkshire Golf Course is being sold, with plans to convert it to a public park. The course will be open, though, for the 2021 season.

                        

While Wilkshire Golf Course will remain open for the 2021 season, it is being sold. Lawrence Township Trustees heard a presentation from Joe Leslie, director of real estate for West Creek Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) organization in Parma, under contract to purchase the land and turn it into a public park.

According to Leslie, the organization is seeking a Clean Ohio grant to purchase the 182 acres along the Tuscarawas River but needs resolutions of support from township trustees and county commissioners. He said the Tuscarawas County Parks Department and the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District are supportive of the effort.

If the grant money comes through, cart paths will be used as trails, and natural trails will be added to the park. The pavilions will stay where they are. Leslie said a large portion of the land will be allowed to naturally support a ground-nesting habitat for birds and other wildlife. He was unsure what will be done with the club house.

“We can and will likely seek other funding for additions to the park such as a playground,” Leslie said.

Leslie said the plan is to open the park as soon as possible after the transfer of property to them in late fall or early winter this year.

The golf course is currently owned by the heirs of John Easterday, who, according to Leslie, want to “honor the heritage of what was built by the father and grandfather by building a public park.”

Trustee Don Ackerman wanted to be sure the organization buying the land also would maintain it and was assured by Leslie it would.

Mike Haueter, new board president, asked for a written document pledging the organization’s plan to make the former golf course a public park. The trustees will vote on the resolution at the Jan. 28 meeting.

In other business

Trustees voted to name Haueter president for the 2021 year. All other committee positions will remain the same as last year: Ackerman, regional planning, health board advisory and zoning committee; Matt Ritterbeck, health, recreation, and streets and roads; and Haueter, alternate to the regional planning committee, safety, cemetery and website.

Trustees also passed a resolution approving permanent appropriations in the amount of $2,351,771.45 for 2021, along with a resolution to pay trustees and the fiscal officer according to the Ohio Revised Code including mileage reimbursement.

Zoning report

Ron Weekley, zoning inspector, said the zoning committee has recommended changes. A public hearing will be held Feb. 11 at 7 p.m., immediately followed by a vote by the trustees at their regular meeting.

Weekley also said he was approached by CCU Coal & Construction wanting to mine property on the corner of Eberhart and St. Peter’s Church, owned by Holmes Limestone of Millersburg.

Weekley voiced concern about mining doing damage to the township road. He said he wants to see the company have a bond equal to the cost of fully replacing the road plus 25%. He is waiting for additional information from the company and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. No activity can take place without the approval of the township trustees.

Weekley reported on the recycling bin mess in the parking lot of Kickin’ Kountry and Vaughan’s Pub in Wilkshire Hills. He said the company owning the bin has not picked up anything in more than three months. The two businesses that share a parking lot want it to be removed. He was assured it would be and the area would be cleaned up.

Ritterbeck reported Massarelli Baseball, the company out of Akron building a sports complex on a 20.6-acre parcel in Wilkshire Hills, is looking for Tax Increment Financing funding. Ackerman will contact the attorney to request some of those funds for the township as reimbursement for road maintenance and police and EMS protection.

The next meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Charles E. Lundenberger Hall, 10867 Industrial Parkway NW, Bolivar.


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