BY SHERI TRUSTY
Danbury Township Trustee Dianne Rozak receives a lot of requests for more trails at Meadowbrook Marsh, a 113-acre park that features marsh, forest, meadow and grassland areas. On any given day, locals or tourists can be found hiking, fishing or birding amongst the natural beauty of the land.
“The money for trails has to come from the township’s general fund, and it’s our smallest fund, so I was looking for grants,” Rozak said.
This fall, a 990-foot-long paved trail was installed on a former grassy lane at Meadowbrook Marsh thanks to a Park District of Ottawa County Parks and Trails Improvement Grant. Danbury Township utilized American Rescue Plan Act funds to contribute 50% to the matching grant to fund the $33,000 project.
The meandering trail through the woods, which was finished in mid-November, provides another ADA-accessible opportunity at Meadowbrook Marsh.
“This is just fabulous. The twisting and turning of the trail was by design. We try to create things that are unobtrusive. We want them to look like they’ve always been there,” Rozak said. “People say it’s wonderful, and some have said they are glad they can bring family members who are in wheelchairs.”
In 2023, the Park District of Ottawa County distributed grants to eight Ottawa County government entities. Now, the park district is looking for more outdoor recreational opportunity projects to fund. The third round of Parks and Trails Improvement Grant funding is open. Applications are due on Jan. 8 at 4:30 p.m., with $200,000 in grant funding available in 2024. Grant application information can be found at www.ottawacountyparksoh.org.
Parks and Trails Improvement Grant eligible applicants must be Ottawa County political subdivisions of the State of Ohio or Ottawa County public schools or libraries. Eligible grant proposals will focus on improving access to outdoor spaces, aiding in the development of active transportation routes to parks and points of interest, and bolstering public outdoor recreation opportunities within Ottawa County, according to information provided by the park district.
“The grants play an important role in providing funding for local government entities to make outdoor recreation improvements within their own communities,” said Park District of Ottawa County Executive Director Jannah Wilson.
“Ottawa County communities have a pulse on the needs of residents. By providing access to these funds, projects are funded that address immediate needs for infrastructure improvements, new amenities, parkland preservation, outdoor education and recreation.”
Park district grants have played an impactful role at Meadowbrook Marsh. Various grants funded an informational sign, a shelter house and a paved trail connecting the parking lot to Rainbow Ridge, a memorial site dedicated to the memory of wildlife that perished at African Safari Wildlife Park on Thanksgiving Day, 2019.
“The park district grants have been a blessing to us,” Rozak said.