MWCD finishes recreation master plan, to prepare project list

November 13, 2013

A master plan concept to address major upgrades and deferred maintenance at several of its recreational facilities and two marinas over the next several years has been completed for the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD).

The next step, according to the MWCD’s recreation staff, is to develop a first-year project list and budget that will be provided to the MWCD Board of Directors during the first quarter of next year.

“As many of our guests and customers are fully aware, the past two years have been spent in reviewing, dreaming and planning for what the future of the MWCD’s parks, campgrounds and two of its marinas can be,” said Scott Barnhart, MWCD’s chief of recreation. “We have been encouraged by the level of participation and interest that our guests have shown us during this process, and many of the recommendations and suggestions contained in the master plan were developed from their thoughts and ideas.”

The MWCD worked with the internationally recognized planning firm of Woolpert Inc.of Dayton, OH, to develop the plan, which has received the approval of the MWCD Board of Directors. A copy of the plan and additional materials and information is available on the MWCD website at www.mwcd.org/planning.

“We also want our customers, guests and the general public to understand that what has been developed in the master plan is a concept for our facilities, it is not an action plan,” Barnhart said. “Our staff will spend the remainder of this year identifying the priority projects and budgets for each location, keeping in mind the suggestions that were offered by our guests.”

The master plan reviews current facilities, amenities and activities, and makes suggestions andrecommendations for future development and upgrades for the following MWCD-operated locations:

·        * Atwood Lake Park

·         * Charles Mill Lake Park

·         * Pleasant Hill Lake Park

·         * Seneca Lake Park

·         * Tappan Lake Park

·         * Piedmont Marina

·         * Seneca Marina

While the master plan did not also specifically address other marinas located at the MWCD lakes, which are operated through lease agreements with private operators, many of the improvements and attractions at the neighboring parks may be used by guests who use dock space and patronize the marinas. Many of the private marina operators also actively participated in the master planning process.

The MWCD also operates campgrounds at Leesville Lake (at Leesville Lake South Fork Marina) near Sherrodsville and on the North Branch of the Kokosing River near Fredericktown in Knox County.

The MWCD has pledged to provide periodic updates to its customers, guests and the general public through its website and other methods as plans are developed and announced, Barnhart said.

“As the work begins, this will be the most comprehensive upgrades at our facilities since their original development and construction a half century ago,” he said. “Our guests have been patient and understanding through the past several years and most recently during the planning phase as we prepare for upgrades, and we want to thank them for their understanding, patience and input during this process.”

The plan makes recommendations for such items as increased electrical service and capacity at the campgrounds, expansion of organized outdoor recreational activities and events, new and upgraded facilities and buildings, infrastructure improvements and much more.

“As these upgrades, enhancements and improvements are developed and completed, we expect to see a transformation of our recreational facilities that will serve all members of our guests’ families for generations to come,” Barnhart said. “The master planning process has energized our guests, customers and staff, and we look forward to the future of our facilities as the plans unfold over the next few years.”

The MWCD, a political subdivision of the state, was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses in the Muskingum River Watershed, the largest wholly contained watershed in Ohio. Since their construction, the 16 reservoirs and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving an estimated $10.7 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government, as well as providing popular recreational opportunities that bolster the region’s economy. A significant portion of the reservoirs are managed by the MWCD and the dams are managed for flood-risk management by the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

For more information about the MWCD, visit www.mwcd.org and follow the MWCD on Facebook and Twitter.

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