The voters have spoken: A proposed tax increase to fund the Great Parks of Hamilton County has been approved.
The levy — on the ballot as Issue 29 — will fund everything from operations and improvements to park infrastructure, like building renovations and playground improvements, as well as adding more trails and building up conservation efforts.
The bill's inception stems from losses the parks department experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 10-year levy is estimated to cost homeowners an additional $33.35 per year for every $100,000 in residential property.
A record number of people visited Hamilton County’s trails in 2020, but the park system lost money because Ohio stay-at-home orders forced the closure of the park system’s revenue-producing activities in mid-March 2020: golf courses, campgrounds, fishing and boating for several months.
“By the end of April, we were 60 percent below earned-revenue projections for the year,” said Great Parks CEO Todd Palmeter in July 2020.
Even after facilities reopened, social distancing guidelines cut into capacity, Palmeter said.
Voters have historically supported Great Parks. In November 2016, voters approved a 10-year renewal levy by nearly 70 percent of the vote to help maintain 21 parks and nature preserves in Hamilton County, as well as preserve an additional 17,000 acres of green space.