(08/14/2006)
Cash-strapped Calhoun County continues to struggle to keep two public recreational areas available for public use, the Calhoun County Park at Mt. Zion and Wayne Underwood Field at Grantsville.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department has just issued several citations to the Calhoun Commission regarding sanitation and health concerns at both facilities.

Sanitarian Michael Johnson says he issued the citations following complaints, saying that most of the problems are easily fixed, but if they are not fixed, they could be sent to magistrates court.

Johnson said neither of the facilities have obtained park permits issued by the health department.

"As far as I know, they have never had permits," he said.

Commission president Larry McCallister said "This is the first time I've every heard about such permits. The commission will do what we can to bring the facilities in compliance."

While the County Park Board has been able to maintain stability, there have been a number of problems regarding Wayne Underwood Field.

The health department has cited Wayne Underwood Field for not having garbage in containers, trash bags on ground, trash containers not having lids, garbage in a ticket booth, and a walk outside the concession stand in disrepair.

The county park has been cited for outside privies not meeting state design standards, including not being vented and screened, and doors not being kept closed.

The citation says there are no outside hand washing facilities, outside playground equipment (tires) are holding water and need drained and at least one privy needs to be pumped.

Park commission president Steve Whited said the problems that have been cited will be fixed, saying the park has had a number of dedicated volunteers who have helped with the facility.

The commission recently spent $1,000 to repair a privy which was reportedly destroyed by vandalism.

Basic grass cutting and maintenance is paid by the county, but the general operations are overseen by volunteers.

Both areas have walking trails, a paved trail at Wayne Underwood Field and a highly-developed rustic trail at the County Park.

The county park is operated by a park board and Wayne Underwood Field is under the supervision of the Calhoun Wood Festival.

The health department has also issued a warning regarding smoking within 15 feet of the doorways of the Calhoun courthouse, with no smoking allowed inside the building, said Johnson.

New anti-smoking regulations went into effect in the Mid-Ohio Valley area in 2005.


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