JOHNNY APPLESEED METROPOLITAN PARK DISTRICT
In 1969, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources published a study on recreation areas and open space throughout the State of Ohio. The results showed that Allen County had one of the smallest areas of recreation for its population. The study was brought to the attention of the Allen County Commissioners by members of the Allen Soil Conservation Service and provided the initial thrust for the establishment of the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District.
In 1970 the Allen County Commissioners, James Shafer, Richard Thompson, and Robert Townsend, Jr., appointed a group of concerned citizens to a Park Advisory Board. Ann Nunley (Lauer) was elected chairman. This Board of 21 people was charged with the responsibility of determining the interest in parks of Allen County residents, plus initiating a plan for development and funding of potential park areas.
The Board members, Dale Archer, Rita Blanchard, John R. Blymyer, Art J. Chatroo, Gene Cornwell, John R. Evans, Fred Gooding, Frank Hackman, Ruth Kreher, Capt. Mike Kipick, Ron Kunz, Ann Nunley (Lauer), Bruce Plumb, James Rex, Mike Smith, Richard Smith, Roland Smith, Chuck Wells, Jack Wetherill, Charles Williams, Furl Williams and three ex-officio members, Richard Schroeder, Dorothy Beers and Barbara Schively (Saeger), spent two years interacting with the community to determine the general feelings of the public relating to park interests.
In January 1972 the Allen County Commissioners, on the recommendation of the Park Advisory Board, engaged James M. Jennings Associates, Area Economics Consultants from Columbus, Ohio, to conduct a three-month feasibility study of a Metropolitan Park District in Allen County. The cost of the study was $1,999.
The findings of the study were:
- There was a severe lack of park land in Allen County;
- There was a wealth of natural, scenic, historic and open space areas suitable for park purposes;
- There was a wide-spread interest in forming a Park District as soon as possible.
The firm recommended that the people proceed with the actions necessary to establish a Metropolitan Park District in Allen County.
The first step was to file an application with the Probate Court, which was done on June 5, 1972. The application was prepared by County Prosecutor Lawrence Huffman and signed by Shawnee Township Trustee Wendell Bowsher.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PARK DISTRICT
On June 28, 1972, a public hearing was held at the Allen County Courthouse with Probate Judge David O. Steiner presiding. After hearing arguments for and against the establishment of a Park District, Judge Steiner ruled that a Park District, including all of Allen County except Beaverdam and Delphos, was in the best interest of the citizens of Allen County. This action marked the establishment of the Park District named “The Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District” by the people of Allen County.
The basis for Park Districts in the State of Ohio is found in the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 1545. This section of the code deals with the procedures and guidelines in the formation and governing of a Park District. Upon the creation of a Park District, the Probate Judge appoints a Board of three Park Commissioners. A total of eighteen applications with resumes were received. Judge Steiner appointed Ann Nunley (Lauer), Calvin R. Kiracofe, and Brian Wheeler to terms of one year, two years, and three years respectively as the first Park Board. These Commissioners took office on July 10, 1972, and served for twenty, nine, and six years respectively. Commissioners are bonded and serve without pay.
DUTIES OF THE PARK COMMISSIONERS
One of the first tasks of the newly appointed Commissioners was to establish the “Goals and Objectives” of the Park District. These Goals and Objectives were adopted in December 1972:
- To acquire lands of unique characteristics for conversion into reserves, directed toward conservation of natural resources;
- To create and promote the use of parks for the benefit of this and future generations;
- To provide educational programs to stimulate an appreciation for the wonders and bounties of nature and to promote sound ecological principles;
- To maintain an inventory of natural areas and to keep informed of the various programs available to implement these goals and objectives.
These goals and objectives remain the same today and provide the framework for Park District policies and decisions.
OPERATIONS OF THE PARK DISTRICT
The Ohio Revised Code mandates that the County Auditor and Treasurer are ex-officio members of the Park Board. Richard Ditto was the County Auditor and Herbert McElwain was the County Treasurer in 1972. John R. Evans volunteered his services as Legal Counsel.
1545.07 Board of park commissioners; employees. The commissioners appointed in accordance with section 1545.07 of the Revised Code shall constitute the board of park commissioners of the park district. Such board shall be a body politic and corporate, and may sue and be sued as provided in sections 1545.01 to 1545.28, inclusive, of the Revised Code. Such board may employ a secretary and such other employees as are necessary in the performance of the powers conferred in such sections. For the purposes of acquiring, planning, developing, protecting, maintaining, or improving lands and facilities thereon under section 1545.11 of the Revised Code, and for other types of assistance which it finds necessary in carrying out its duties under Chapter 1545 of the Revised Code, the board may hire and contract for professional, technical, consulting, and other special services, and may purchase goods. In procuring any goods, the board shall contract as a contracting authority under sections 307.86 to 307.91, inclusive, of the Revised Code, to the same extent and with the same limitations as a board of county commissioners. In procuring services, the board shall contract in the manner and under procedures established by the bylaws of the board as required in section 1545.09 of the Revised Code.
The Park District logo was designed by Orvis Skolos, the winner of a contest sponsored by the Art Association to select a logo for the Park District.
The first Park Board met wherever the Commissioners could find space, from the Court House steps to the Legal Counsel’s office, to the unoccupied Ottawa Valley Hospital, to space provided by Spyker Enterprises for $30 per month.
As a political subdivision of the State of Ohio, the Park District is eligible for a share of the Local Government Funds dispersed by the County Budget Commission. The first year the Park District received $6,300 from the Local Government Fund. This was the major source of funding for 1972.
The first Metropolitan Park in Allen County was McLean Teddy Bear Park, named by the Lima Area Jaycees for Mr. McLean, who gave a teddy bear to every child hospitalized overnight in Allen County. Originally twenty acres of woods used as a pilot program by the Advisory Board, the area was increased to 42.5 acres when the County Commissioners added 22.5 acres of meadow. The Park Commissioners entered into a contract with the Allen County Commissioners for a 99-year lease for control, development, and supervision of this area.
The Park staff as of October 1972 consisted of one full-time employee. With the assistance of the Lima Area Jaycees, the Lima Junior Service League, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Shawnee Lions’ Club, and other volunteer groups and individuals, the supervisor developed McLean Teddy Bear for use as a park.
The number of visitors to McLean Teddy Bear Park proved that the community would appreciate and support parks.
On July 16, 1973, through President Richard Nixon’s “Legacy of Parks Program”, the Park District acquired 162 acres of under-utilized Federal property from the Lima Army Modification Center, which became Heritage Park. Eighty-one acres of this land were returned to the Modification Center for expansion, leaving the park on Reed Road its present size of 81 acres of woods, trails, ponds, and picnic facilities.
With the addition of the land and the acquisition of Federal funds and grants, the Park District made impressive progress. In 1974, a full-time secretary was hired to replace a part-time high school business student who had been the acting secretary.
In 1975, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) permitted the Park Board to employ a director, naturalist, ranger, and later a program specialist , and two park managers .
The Park Commissioners placed the Park District’s first levy attempt on the ballot in June, 1976. The ½ mill levy failed.
A jewel was added to the Park District in 1977 when the Park District acquired 182 acres of woods through a bequest by Florence Kendrick and a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant. The park, due to funding limitations, would remain unopened until years later.
A second ½ levy was attempted in June of 1978. Though additional support was garnered, the levy failed.
On April 30, 1979, the Park District acquired a small but important site on Agerter Road in Amanda Township. This three-acre access to the Auglaize River provides facilities for canoeing, boating, and fishing.
A third levy was attempted for support of the Park District in November 1979. The ½ mill levy once again failed.
Henry Koch, a Bath Township resident, donated ten acres of woodland adjacent to McLean Teddy Bear Park in 1980. The Park Commissioners then purchased 3.5 acres which included a house, bringing the park to 55.5 acres and the site of the Park District Office.
A reduction in CETA funds and the failure of a park levy forced the Park Board to downsize in 1980.
Despite financial difficulties, the Park District continued to increase in size. In 1982, the Park Commissioners entered into a contract with the Allen County Commissioners and opened the Allen County Farm Park on Slabtown Road and State Route 81 East. This 45 acre park is open by reservation only and features a large restored barn for groups of up to 225 people. An antique-variety apple orchard honoring Park Volunteer Naturalist William Lippincott, volleyball, horseshoes, playground equipment, and a large barbecue pit make this park a popular site for family reunions and group activities.
In 1982 the federal CETA program was terminated. A 1 mill levy was placed on the November 1982 general election ballot and was narrowly defeated. With the defeat, the Park Commissioners were forced to close the gates to the parks. Only one full-time employee, a Park Manager/Ranger was retained for security and maintenance and a secretary was employed for one day a week. The Park Commissioners kept a close watch on all property while they sought public support and stressed the importance of a viable, funded park district.
On June 3, 1983, a ten-year 1/3 mill levy was passed overwhelmingly on behalf of the Park District. This voter support made it possible to re-open the parks and employ a full time director and secretary and begin to seek other qualified employees. Park attendance increased enormously during 1983 with great demand for nature programs and a variety of outdoor recreation activities.
Kendrick Woods was developed through a Land and Water Conservation Grant, along with corporate and private donations. The Park District purchased an additional 25 acres in 1985 and opened Kendrick Woods in 1987, the largest contiguous wooded area in the five surrounding counties.
The McElroy Environmental Education Center, an addition to the office at 2355 Ada Road in 1988, enabled the staff to present nature programs in the Center when the weather was not suitable for scheduled outdoor programs. The Park Commissioners meet in this facility, as do the trustees of the Park District Foundation of Allen County, which was established in 1987 to provide the Park District with funds for land acquisition, capital improvements and Park District events and programs not covered by Park District levy income.
To celebrate its 75th anniversary in 1990, the Lima Rotary Club constructed a Riverwalk along the Ottawa River from the Collett Street Recreation Area in the City of Lima south to Heritage Park on Reed Road. The Riverwalk features 5.1 miles of a paved hike/bike trail and is operated cooperatively by the City of Lima and the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District.
On December 20, 1990, the Allen County Commissioners and the Park Commissioners entered into a long-term lease of the 136 County-owned acres of land adjacent to the 89-acre Lima Lake, which had been abandoned in 1951.
On January 7, 1991, Lima City Council voted to deed the Lima Lake Reservoir to the Park District and the 225-acre Ottawa Metro Park on State Route 81 east of Lima was created. The Park District obtained a Waterways Safety Fund Grant and immediately began construction of a boat ramp, restroom facilities, driveway and parking lots. The park opened in 1994. A large shelter house was constructed in 1995.
The City of Delphos was annexed to the Park District through a petition drive in 1991 and Kendrick Woods Metro Park grew by 11 acres through the purchase of a wetland area east of Defiance Trail.
In 1992, the City of Lima launched a campaign to initiate metro-government in Allen County and proposed a merger proposal by which the Lima City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Divisions would be absorbed by the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District. The proposal included a demand to raise the Park District’s county-wide property tax levy to .95 mills to cover part of the additional operational costs. The Park District Commissioners rejected the proposal due to the conflict of missions as proscribed by the Ohio Revised Code for municipal recreation systems and metropolitan park districts (ORC 755 and 1545, respectively). Due to the confusion and misinformation presented to the citizens of Allen County by the City of Lima, ¾ mill levies were defeated in both May and November of 1992.
In May of 1993, Allen County voters approved a ten-year, 3/4 mill levy to maintain and improve the Park District following a campaign to inform voters of the facts regarding the prior year’s merger proposal from the City of Lima.
As part of the 1993 levy, the Cooperative Park Improvement Grant Program was started in 1994. Political subdivisions across Allen County received funding through the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District for capital improvements in their community parks. $100,000 per year was dedicated to the program, which made remarkable improvements in city, village and township parks throughout Allen County.
On July 1, 1996, the Park Commissioners signed a management agreement with the Ohio Historical Society for operation and maintenance of 11½ acres of Fort Amanda State Memorial on State Route 198 southwest of Lima. This area provides picnic facilities restrooms, hiking trails and a overlook to the Auglaize River, as well as a 50 ft. high gray granite monument telling the story of the 1812 Fort.
1997 saw the extension of the Rotary Riverwalk into Heritage Park with the construction of a one kilometer loop at the West End of the park. In addition, the Kiracofe Prairie was dedicated at Kendrick Woods Metro Park. The prairie is a restored/planted prairie to educate visitors regarding the importance of native prairie grasses and flowers in our area prior to and after settlement.
Phase 2 of the Ottawa Metro Park development started in 1997 as well and included the five acre swimming lake and beach, beach house and a second large shelter for reservations. The new facilities opened in 1998.
The Lippincott Bird Sanctuary, a 37 acre natural area, was donated to the Park District by William Lippincott in 1998.
In 1999, the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District Commissioners entered into agreement with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to manage the Deep Cut Historical area on the Miami Erie canal. The 8.5 acre site is the deepest excavation on the entire length of canal from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.
Also in 1999, the Park District received a $28,500 NatureWorks grant toward the development of the Ottawa Metro Park campground. Both the campground and the amphitheater were opened in 2001
The Village of Beaverdam was annexed to the Park District in 2001.
The 10 year, ¾ mill replacement levy was passed by the voters of Allen County by a 2:1 margin in the Spring of 2003, showing the overwhelming support of a strong Park District for Allen County.
Eighteen acres of land was purchased from Allen County and added to the Allen County Farm Park in 2003. The acreage is used by the Allen Horses in Harness Club that partners with the Park District for special events, including the biennial Apple Festival. A Recreational Trails Grant of $26,900 was also received and used to build the bridle trail, driveway and parking lot at the Allen County Farm Park.
A Clean Ohio Fund grant was received in 2003 in the amount of $421,125 to purchase eighty additional acres adjacent to McLean Teddy Bear Park, bringing the total park acreage to 135.5.
An additional 58.8 acres of land was purchased adjacent to the Ottawa Metro Park in 2004 and was designated to be developed as a working historical farm. The Evans Arboretum, named for John Evans who served as a long term legal advisor for the Park District, was dedicated in 2004.
The Lippincott Bird Sanctuary was dedicated and opened in 2005.
2006 was a busy year for the Park District. Two additions were made to Kendrick Woods Metro Park. 52.5 acres along St. Rt. 81 and the Auglaize River were purchased and shortly thereafter an adjacent 58.5 acres was offered and purchased. These were the first parcels east of the Auglaize River to be added to Kendrick Woods Metro Park.
The Motter Metro Park was established near Bluffton Ohio through a Clean Ohio Fund Grant of $166,500 for the purchase of 55 acres along the Little Riley Creek.
Also in 2006, conceptual plans for the Lauer Historical Farm in the Ottawa Metro Park were presented. Unfortunately, the Ohio Legislature announced the passage of a bill that eliminated tangible personal property taxes which in turn cut the Park District’s budget by 19% and the plans were put on hold.
A $78,000 Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant was received for the improvement of the towpath trail along the Miami Erie Canal from Deep Cut Historical Park to Spencerville. In addition, a $1.4 million Clean Ohio Fund grant was received to extend the Riverwalk from Lima to the Ottawa Metro Park. The Rotary Club of Lima donated nearly $400,000 as a local match for the grant.
In 2007, the Park Commissioners purchased the former 50 acre well field from the City of Delphos after a lengthy court battle. The land is located on St. Rt. 66 at the West End of Kendrick Woods Metro Park.
The Veterans Committee and the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center honored the Park District in 2010 by dedicating the Veteran’s Freedom Flag Monument and trusting staff to care for it. The monument is the largest known stationary flag in the country.
An additional and adjacent 50 acre parcel was purchased in 2010 at the Motter Metro Park with a Clean Ohio Fund Grant of $262,500. The Motter family donated the local match for this grant.
In May of 2013, Allen County voters overwhelmingly passed the ¾ mill levy by a margin of three to one, proving once again the value of the parks to our citizens. Due to ongoing and increasing budget cuts from the State of Ohio the ¾ mill levy was generating only 70% of what it initially produced in 1993.
Another parcel of land was offered to the Park District adjacent to Kendrick Woods and the Auglaize River in 2014. The Park District applied for and received a Clean Ohio Fund Grant in the amount of $324,500 and purchased the property along Zion Church Road.
Work began on the most recent park in 2014 following the receipt of generous bequest by Carole Hermon. 71 acres of woodlands were purchased and developed in American Township on N. Wapak Rd. The Park District also received a $461,305 Clean Ohio Fund grant for the purchase and development of the Hermon Woodlands Metro Park. The park was dedicated and opened in 2016.
The Commissioners of the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District placed an additional ¾ mill levy on the May, 2015 ballot to make up for state budget cuts and local property devaluation. The levy passed by a 55% margin and will be collected for eight years, the expiration to match that of the existing ¾ mill levy in 2023.
The Park District has made steady progress since its creation in 1972. Annual attendance figures exceed 760,000 visitors. In 2020, attendance numbers exceeded 900,000, the highest annual attendance ever for the Park District. There are approximately 1500 acres in the park system broken into fifteen different areas plus the Riverwalk.
The current Board of Park Commissioners governing these 13 areas are Dr. Robert K.Antibus, Kevin P. Bruin and Donna M. Creamer.
The Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District is a comprehensive system of natural areas and preserves in Allen County, carefully planned to retain the natural features and to serve all of the people of the county.
Chronology of Events
1969 The Ohio Department of Natural Resources published a study on recreation and open space throughout Ohio, brought to the attention of the Allen County Commissioners by the Allen Soil Conservation District.
1970 The Allen County Commissioners appointed a group of concerned citizens to a Park Advisory Board.
1972 A three-month feasibility study of a Metropolitan Park District by James M. Jennings Associates, Columbus, Ohio.
1972 Application for a Park District made to the Probate Court. Park District established June 30, 1972.
1972 McLean Teddy Bear Park established through long term lease by Allen County Commissioners-20 acres, then increased to 42.5 acres.
1973 Heritage Park (162 acres) established via deed from U.S. Government
1974 Park District logo designed by Orvis Skolos.
1975 Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) permitted the Park Board to employ key personnel.
1976 June: First attempt to pass a ½ mill levy for the Park District: Failed
1977 45 acres at Allen County Farm Park acquired with long term lease by the Allen County Commissioners
1977 Kendrick Woods original land (182 acres) purchase through $211,000 bequest and $111,500 LWCF Grant along with conservation easements of 20, 5, and 7.1 acres.
1978 June: Second attempt to pass a ½ mill levy for the Park District: Failed
1978 81 acres of Heritage Metro Park was re-conveyed to the Federal government for the Lima Army Tank Plant test track
1979 Access to Auglaize River at Agerter Road established.
1979 November: Third attempt to pass a ½ mill levy for the Park District: Failed
1980 McLean Teddy Bear Park expanded to 56 acres through 10 acre donation by Henry Koch and 3.5 acre purchase by Park District (site of current office)
1982 Allen County Farm Park opened.
1982 November: Fourth attempt to pass a 1 mill levy for the Park District: Failed
1983 June: Fourth attempt to pass a 1/3 mill levy: Passed
1984 $2,500 grant awarded by Wells Fargo for a physical fitness trail in Heritage Park
1985 25 acres of land purchased at Kendrick Woods for development of shelters, restrooms, etc.
1986 Kendrick Woods-Purchased conservation easements of 12.6 and 9.8 acres
1987 Kendrick Woods Metro Park opened
1987 Park District Foundation of Allen County established.
1988 McElroy Environmental Education Center added to the Park District Office
1990 Riverwalk established.
1991 Ottawa Metro Park established.
1991 Kendrick Woods-Purchased 11acre Meyer property
1991 City of Delphos became part of Park District.
1992 Establishment of Johnny Appleseed Yarn Spinners storytelling group
1992 Ottawa Metro Park construction began for entry, boat ramp, parking, fishing deck and restroom with a $129,500 Ohio Waterways Safety Fund Grant
1992 ¾ mill levies failed in May and November
1993 A ten-year 3/4 mill levy passed in May.
1996 Ft. Amanda State Memorial added to Park District
1997 Planned second phase developments to Ottawa Metro Park. A $105,000 NatureWorks grant was received for the beach house
1997 Heritage Park bikeway 1 kilometer loop added to Riverwalk
1997 Kiracofe Prairie dedicated at Kendrick Woods
1998 Opened Ottawa Metro Park Beach
1998 37.09-acre Lippincott Bird Sanctuary bequeathed to Park District
1998 Retrofitted all reservable shelters with electric service
1999 $28,500 NatureWorks grant for Ottawa Metro Park campground
1999 8.5-acre Deep Cut Historical Park leased to Park District from ODNR Division of Water
1999 92.5 acre Settlemire property purchased at Kendrick Woods
2000 Water debate with Delphos goes to court
2000 Ottawa Metro Park campground / amphitheater construction started
2001 Completed Ottawa Metro Park campground
2001 Annexed Beaverdam to Park District
2002 Celebrated Park District’s 30th Anniversary
2002 Opened Ottawa Metro Park campground
2003 Purchased 18 additional acres at Allen County Farm Park
2003 Received $421,125 Clean Ohio Fund grant and purchased Pickrell Farm, an 80 acre addition to McLean Teddy Bear Park
2003 Opened Bridle Trail at Allen County Farm Park with a $26,900 Recreational Trails Fund grant
2003 With a 2 to 1 margin, Allen County citizens approved a replacement ¾ mill levy
2004 Completed Evens Arboretum at Ottawa Metro Park and dedicated July 17, 2004
2004 Park District acquired the 58.8 acre Roberts Property adjacent to the Ottawa Metro Park to become the Lauer Historical Farm
2004 Renovation of North Barn at Allen County Farm Park
2005 Opened the Lippincott Bird Sanctuary
2006 The Park District Foundation revitalized – strategic plan implemented, endowment fund created
2006 Huber Property acquired, 52.5 acres, adjacent to Auglaize River & Kendrick Woods
2006 Matthews Property acquired, 58.5 acres, adjacent to Auglaize River & Kendrick Woods
2006 Lauer Historical Farm Park conceptual plan announced
2006 $78,000 Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant received for Deep Cut to Spencerville Trail
2006 55-acre Motter parcel in Bluffton added to Park District through $166,500 Clean Ohio Fund grant
2006 $1.4 Million Clean Ohio Fund grant received to extend Rotary Riverwalk to Lauer Historical Farm and Ottawa Metro Park
2007 Park District hosts Lima Exchange Club event: Healing Fields at Ottawa Metro Park
2007 Park District celebrates 35th Anniversary with all-day event at Ottawa Metro Park
2007 Kendrick Woods: Purchased 50 acre (Delphos Well field) on St. Rt. 66
2010 Veterans Freedom Flag Monument dedicated
2010 Motter Metro Park: Purchased 50 acres with $262,500 Clean Ohio Fund Grant
2013 A ¾ mill replacement levy passed by a three to one margin.
2014 Kendrick Woods: Purchased 61.3 acres (Stockton Property) with $324,500 Clean Ohio Fund Grant
2014 Hermon Woodlands Metro Park (71 acres) purchased with a bequest from Carole Hermon and a $461,305 Clean Ohio Fund Grant
2015 An additional ¾ mill levy passed with a 55% voter approval
2016 The Hermon Woodlands Metro Park is opened in May
2016 Evans Archery Range completed with a gift from Richard B. (Dick) Evans
2017 Construction begins o the Lauer Historical Farm
2017 Renovations begin on the South Barn at the Allen County Farm Park
2018 Renovations complete on the south Barn at Allen County Farm Park
2018 Park District commissions The Barn Artist (Scott Hagan) to design and paint a new bicentennial logo on the south end of the barn, facing State Route 81
2018 Park District begins and finishes Phase I construction of the Miami and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Spencerville north corp. line to Zion Church Road
2018 Wetland development project conceptualized for Motter Metro Park in partnership with the Nature Conservancy
2018 Lauer Historical Farm dedication and open house (August)
2018 Park District commissions the BEETLE (Bringing Environmental Education To Learners Everywhere) mobile environmental education unit as part of a second donation from Richard (Dick) Evans
2019 Park District begins and finishes Phase II construction of the Miami and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Zion Church Road to south corp. line of Delphos
2019 Park District begins development of the Stockton property (purchase in 2014) for the enhancement of trail opportunities as part of Kendrick Woods, $143,366 Clean Ohio Fund Grant
2019 Park District designs and installs interpretive trail signage at Motter Metro Park, $35,581 Clean Ohio Fund Grant
2019 Donation of 50 acres of land on Sunderland Road from Herbert and Elfie Beil
2019 Donation of 23 acres of land adjacent to Kendrick Woods, Krendl Family
2019 Purchase of 12 acres, (Osting Property) for access to the Miami and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, $169,526, Clean Ohio Fund Grant for purchase and development
2019 Purchase of 60.9 Acres, (Lowry Farm) as parkland in southeastern Allen County, $408,937, Clean Ohio Fund Grant for purchase and development
2019 New Playground installed at McLean Teddy Bear Park, National Demonstration Site, $40,000 OPRA and Gametime Playground Grant
2019 Inaugural Lauer Farms 1944 World War II Living History Event (October)
2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit the World.
2020 Dedication of Robert K. Antibus Trail Access (formerly Osting Property) (July)
2020 Dedication of Haver Ridge Metro Park (formerly Lowry Farm) (September)
2021 Construction of new Park District office begins
Park District Commissioners
|Brian Wheeler||1972 – 1977|
|Calin Kiracofe||1972 – 1981|
|Ann Nunley Lauer||1972 – 1991|
|Sharon Bressler||1978 – 1980|
|Dr. Stephen CaJacob||1981 – 1989|
|Warren Jacobs||1982 – 1993|
|Donald Jolley||1990 – 1992|
|Nancy Steiner||1992 – 2012|
|Peter Green||1993 – 2004|
|Dr. Robert Antibus||1994 – Present|
|Kevin Bruin||2005 – Present|
|Cathy Ahman||2013 – 2016|
|Donna Creamer||2017 – Present|
Park District Foundation of Allen County Trustees
|Ann Nunley Lauer||1987 – 1995|
|Warren Jacobs||1987 – 1993|
|Dr. Stephen CaJacob||1987 – 1989|
|Lee Lichtenfels||1987 – 1990|
|Richard Evans||1987 – 1990|
|Harold Sehnert||1988 – 1992|
|Wendell Freeland||1988 – 1994|
|Sharon Bresler||1988 – 1992|
|Charles Hutchinson||1988 – 1995|
|Donald Jolley||1990 – 1992|
|Robert Townsend, Jr.||1991 – 1995|
|Nancy R. Steiner||1992 – 2012|
|Peter Green||1993 – 2004|
|Dr. Robert Antibus||1994 – Present|
|Kevin Bruin||2005 – Present|
|Cathy Ahman-||2013 – 2016|
|Richard Rudolph||2013 – 2016|
|Max Stover||2013 – 2015|
|John Hoffman||2013 – 2016|
|Donna Creamer||2017 – Present|
|William Jency Brown||1975 – 1982|
|Kevin L. Haver||1983 – 2020|
|Tyler B. Black||2020 – Present|
|David O. Steiner||1965 – 1974|
|David R. Kinworthy||1974 – 2006|
|Glenn Derryberry||2007 – 2021|
|Todd Kohlreiser||2021 – Present|
|John R. Evans||1972 – 1985|
|Lawrence Huffman||1986 – 1987|
|Richard Warren||1987 – 1988|
|Donald Witter||1989 – 1991|
|Dale Vandemark||1992 – Present|
The residents of Allen County have been served by caring and interested Probate Judges, dedicated Park Commissioners, and by a well-trained and professional staff. They have also benefited from the selfless services by hundreds of volunteers who have worked on the levies, volunteered as trail guides, program assistants and as special events workers.
This history is updated as of 2021 with a tremendous future ahead for the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District. The Commissioners and Staff deeply appreciate the citizens of Allen County for their ongoing support of the Park District.