Man on a mission to clean up 65-acre park

Posted at 7:43 PM, Sep 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-28 19:43:09-04

HAMILTON, Ohio -- With his trash bag in one hand and grabber in the other, Steve Monnin is on a mission to clean up James G. Combs Memorial Park.

The park, he said, has become a hotbed for drugs, sex and crime. So for the past two months, Monnin, 57, has made it his mission to give the park a makeover, little by little, every day.

Combs Memorial Park, located near the Great Miami River and part of the Miami Conservancy District, became Monnin's passion after he left his job with Toyota. He thought he'd spend his days enjoying the outdoors in the park's 65 acres, not far from his home.

Instead, he found it was a dumping ground for used drug paraphernalia.

"We found a loaded one (syringe)," he said. "I found 33 needles now, and that's the first time I found a loaded one."

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The Hamilton Parks Conservancy and the city of Hamilton realize the park needs help. It's just a matter of figuring out what they can afford to do.

"I empty the trash because we put them out," he said. "The city didn't put them out, so I take them and get the trash. We pick up all the tree limbs and all that."

Monnin has spent his own money on his mission, including buying trash cans and painting a shelter with an accessible restroom.

"I would like to see them dig this pond out, and spray that field out and make this end accessible to everybody," he said.

In the meantime, the police department has stepped up its patrol of the area.

Hamilton city officials plan to meet in October to discuss the future of the park and what improvements they can make.

According to WCPO media partner the Journal-News, it might be hard to lure more boaters and fishermen to the area because there might not be money to fix up the park; that's going to be part of the discussion in October.


Journal-News reporter Wayne Baker contributed to this story.