County parks are a breath of fresh air


PERRYSBURG —Wood County park experiences are increasingly being accompanied by advice to take a deep breath.

The Wood County Park District board of commissioners met on March 14 at W.W. Knight Preserve, with their introduction led by Emma Taylor, a trauma informed mindfulness meditation teacher, who is also a program naturalist.

She began the presentation with the meeting room occupants practicing mindfulness techniques, in order to “get a little grounding.”

She coached everyone to close their eyes, take a slow breath and “feel your feet in your shoes.”

Taylor’s goal is to help her class connect with a sense of wonder at the parks.

Her favorite comment from one of the regular class participants is that “it is not overly foo foo.” Asking what that meant, the woman said “You’re not putting on a fake facade.”

The next class is already full, but the April 8 class, from 9:30-11 a.m. at the W.W. Knight Nature Preserve, is open for registration.

Taylor is the only teacher of this mindfulness method in Northwest Ohio. She has taught 20 of the Monthly Mindfulness classes, which are a combination of seated and gentle hiking mindfulness and nature awareness activities.

The class is one of the many adult educational programs from the Wood County Park District. Some of the other classes are Backpacking Basics, Coffee with the Birds and the Timberdoodle Trek.

In other business, the board approved an agreement with Eric Palmer Trucking and Excavating Ltd. for removal of the existing septic tank system and for connection services to the new Mercer Road sewer line for Park District Headquarters building, for $8,325.

Construction of the line is part of a current Northwestern Water and Sewer District project.

Park board member Sandy Wiechman noted that the project had originally been budgeted for $11,000. However, she said that Director Chris Smalley said that the additional funds are not expected to be needed.

Smalley said the project is expected to be completed in May, “but it’s a fluid situation.”

Also at the meeting, the board:

• Authorized milling, repaving and restriping work for the parking lot at the park district headquarters by Morlock Asphalt Ltd. for $32,875.

• Authorized a furnace replacement at the W.W. Knight Nature Center for $14,990 from Downey PHCE LLC.

• Requested funds from the Ohio Department of Transportation for Ohio Park Districts Roadwork Funds for the 2024-25 fiscal year through the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association.

Smalley said that the parks typically receive around $65,000, but the number is yet to be determined by the OPRA for the year.

• Approved a new security camera system from Intech IT Solutions for the J.C. Reuthinger Memorial Preserve for $5,317.

The meeting closed out with the board going into executive session to discuss possible land acquisition.

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