There are large signs in Auburn Township inviting residents to a November 1, 2014,“sneak peak” to admire “improvements” to Auburn Township Community Park. Some have the mistaken impression that because of this second annual “sneak peak,” the facility is now open to the Auburn taxpayers, who, whether or not they know it, paid for the parcel and improvements. As a result of a $10,000+ contribution it made to the park back in April 2014, however, Kenston Community Education (KCE) controls use of the park.
The original deed for the sale of the 68-acre parcel, once known as Cathan Farm, was signed over to the Auburn Township Trustees on January 29, 2007, by Edward F Meyers, then of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
Trustees did not bother to inform the public of their intent to purchase the parcel, which had been offered to them for several years by the owners. After more than 7 ½ years since that purchase, the facility is not open to Auburn taxpayers unless the gates are open for KCE.
Presently, the gates are open during weekday afternoons and weekends to permit KCE participants to utilize dedicated playing fields, which are, according to Auburn Trustees, “holding up well” under all the traffic.
Meanwhile, Auburn residents do not have free access to the grounds.
An affidavit signed by Assistant Prosecutor Susan Wieland on September 3, 2009, permitted Auburn Township to receive a $99,000 grant authorized by Ohio House Bill 562. According to the terms of the grant, “The Grantee [Auburn Township Trustees] agrees that the Project will be completed and open and available for use, not later than June 30, 2010.” [Emphasis added] Amendments signed by Trustee Patrick J. Cavanagh extended the completion date to December 31, 2011, but as of late October 2014, Auburn residents who are not KCE participants have no access to their own park.
Further, my public information requests on December 3, 2012, revealed that there were never any Auburn Trustee resolutions for organization of the park, for assigning the name of Auburn Township Community Park, or for the establishment of any board of commissioners to administer the entity.
Have the Auburn Trustees acted improperly again?
I do not oppose KCE's use of Auburn Community Park, but I object to the lack of equal access for the very folks who paid for the property.
On November 1, 2014, when Auburn residents munch their token hot dog at their “sneak peak,” will they express concern for the inability to enjoy their own property on the same basis as KCE, or will they just eat the baloney from the Auburn Township Trustees?
Diane J. Jones