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Metroparks Annual Report 2009

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  • 8/9/2019 Metroparks Annual Report 2009


    GetConnected!Metroparks of the Toledo Area

    2009 Annual Report

  • 8/9/2019 Metroparks Annual Report 2009


    2009 was a year o challenges and

    changes at Metroparks, but also a year

    that demonstrated the value o the

    park district to the community.

    It was challenging because, like many

    amilies, companies and government

    agencies, we elt the eects o the

    economic crisis. Metroparks saw the

    frst decline in revenue rom property

    taxes our primary source o income.

    Nonetheless, the park district re-

    mained ocused on the delivery o core

    services to park visitors. We believe

    we have a good handle on how our

    community expects us to spend their

    tax dollars:

    Providing a beautiul natural area or

    their park experienceEnsuring a very clean park experienceEnsuring a sae park experienceTaking care o what we haveProviding opportunities or children to

    connect with Metroparks

    One highlight o the year was the

    opening o the historical area at Pear-

    son North in August, marking the 75th

    anniversary o that beloved park.

    Similar to the opening o the original

    park during the height o the Great

    Depression, volunteers raised moneyor the expansion during difcult

    economic times. And like the opening

    o Pearson in 1934, the community

    turned out in a big way to celebrate the


    It was also a big year or programming

    at Metroparks. Holidays in the Manor

    House a community tradition dating

    back to the 1970s saw nearly 14,000

    people make the spectacular home

    part o their holiday celebration. Oppor-

    tunities or children to connect with na-

    ture were abundant as 88 local schoolstook advantage o Metroparks environ-

    mental programs and summer Nature

    Camp attendees went hiking, fshing,

    and explored the great outdoors.

    One thing we will long remember

    about 2009 is the way in which our

    talented sta persevered during

    the fnancial crunch to continue

    delivering on the promise we make

    to the community every day: clean,

    sae, natural parks where everyone

    is welcome. Our park employees

    made up o ranger, maintenance,

    land management, programming, and

    administrative sta are ocused on

    serving our customers and providing a

    world-class natural area park system.

    And while sta was here to serve the

    community, supporters returned the

    avor by providing over 50,000 hours

    o valuable volunteer time.

    You can read about these and other

    highlights elsewhere in this report.

    What I would like to add, on a per-

    sonal note, is my thanks to you, our

    park users, members, volunteers,

    and donors. As the new director o

    Metroparks in 2009, I ound it en-

    couraging and gratiying to meet somany people who care so deeply or

    an institution that has been a part o

    my own amily as ar back as I can


    I ask or your continued support, and,

    as always, I count on you to let me

    know how we can serve you better.


    Donald R. Rettig, Jr.


    The Year Ahead

    2010 will see the greatest investment

    in inrastructure in the park districts

    history. Expect to see:

    Improvements at Macomber Lodge

    at Pearson, the Metz Visitor Center at

    Wildwood and the Buehner Centerand Lodge at Oak Openings.

    A new entrance and a parking lot

    at Bend View Metropark, making this

    scenic spot on the Maumee River

    accessible to more people. Currently,

    the only way to get to Bend View is

    by walking about two miles on the

    Towpath Trail rom Farnsworth.

    Repaving projects across the dis-

    trict, including the Parkway through

    Oak Openings Preserve; shelter reno-

    vations; a new waterline at Wildwood;

    and trail improvements, including a

    new loop trail at the Pearson North

    addition. These projects are scheduled

    or already under way.

    Across the park district, dead and

    dying ash trees will be removed in

    places where they pose a hazard and

    natural areas will be restored.

    The vast majority o the unding or

    these projects will come rom grants,

    donations, and other unding sourcesseparate rom local levy revenue.

    Value Of Metroparks Shines Through


    PropertyTaxLevy $12,073,115

    LandAcquisitionLevy 2,147,745

    IntergovernmentalRevenues 3,835,405

    Program&RentalCharges/Sales 361,321

    Donations,Sponsors 332,232


    RetailOperations 106,935

    InvestmentIncome 52,924

    Fines&Forfeitures 5,442

    AllOtherRevenue 252,716

    TOTAL $19,167,835


    Payroll&FringeBenets $7,802,739

    OperatingExpenditures 3,426,462

    CapitalOutlay 1,300,982

    LandAcquisition 1,705,177

    AllOtherExpenses 774,852

    TOTAL $15,010,212

  • 8/9/2019 Metroparks Annual Report 2009


    Connecting With The Land

    Land Acquisition

    Metroparks grew by 179 acres in2009. Most of the land acquisitions

    were within the Oak Openings region,

    where a greenway corridor between

    Secor and Oak Openings Preserve is

    now more than 85 percent complete.

    In 2009 Metroparks acquired:

    74 acres of Oak Openings habitat

    using $615,000 from the Clean Ohio

    Funds. Included was a 17-acre expan-

    sion to Secor Metropark.

    55 acres of swamp forest habitattransferred from the Toledo-Lucas

    County Port Authority.

    42 acres of wet prairie and swamp

    forest habitat purchased with

    $571,000 from the Ohio EPAs Wa-

    ter Resource Restoration Sponsor

    Program in collaboration with the City

    of Toledo.

    3.6-acre Fort Miamis Park transferred

    from the City of Maumee and will be

    managed as part of the Fallen Timbers

    Battleeld and Fort Miamis NationalHistoric Site.

    A 1.5-acre in-holding at Providence


    And a 1-acre in-holding at the Fallen

    Timbers Battleeld on Jerome Road.

    Land Acquisitions To DateSince the passage of a 10-year,

    0.3-mill land levy in 2002, the park

    district has added nearly 3,000 acres.

    Total land holdings (owned, leased or

    managed by agreement) were 10,787

    acres as of December 31, 2009. The

    original land levy goal of adding 4,500

    acres is now two-thirds complete.

    Following are total acres acquired by

    focus area. Numbers in parentheses

    represent Metroparks original acreage


    Zone TotalOak Openings Corridor (1800) 1555

    Lake Erie Coastal Zone Area (1600) 987

    Maumee River Corridor/

    Fallen Timbers (350) 67

    Ottawa River/

    Ten Mile Creek Corridor (250) 0

    Swan Creek Corridor/Westside Corridor (200) 5

    Other: Nona France, Keil Farm (300) 323

    TOTAL (4500) 2937

    Land ManagementAlongside rows of corn and other

    crops at the Blue Creek Conserva-

    tion Area, a Metroparks property in

    Whitehouse, grows a variety of native

    plants used to repopulate natural

    areas being restored throughout the

    park district. In 2009, the farm raised

    12,000 plants. Seeds harvested fromthe farm were used to plant 80 to90 acres of land, including a portion

    of the former Keil Farm property on

    Reynolds Road and Hill Avenue.

    The Land Management crew also

    restored about 50 acres of natural

    area by thinning overgrown vegeta-

    tion and removing non-native spe-

    cies. Prescribed burns are among the

    methods the crew used to restore

    native habitat.

    New and Improved Rental


    A late-1800s brick farmhouse

    at Wildwood Preserves east

    entrance will become a unique

    rental facility in 2010. It is just one

    of many improvements on the way

    for Metroparks indoor facilities.

    The Wildwood Manor House, Oak

    Openings Lodge and the Buehner

    Center at Oak Openings are all due

    for major improvements in the yearahead. Last year was the rst full

    year that the Manor House was

    made available for weddings and

    other gatherings.

    Consider making planned giving one of your Metroparks connections.

  • 8/9/2019 Metroparks Annual Report 2009


    Connecting With The


    Programs And Special EventsMetroparks oers more than fve

    dozen low-cost or ree educational

    programs each month. Programs are

    one way the park district lives its mis-sion to inspire preservation eorts in

    this and uture generations. In 2009,

    118,500 people attended programs to

    learn about the nature, history and cul-ture o the region, or to experience the

    parks as part o an entertaining social

    event. Fees rom programs generated

    $166,000 in revenue.

    Program highlights included the dedi-

    cation o the Johlin Cabin at Pearson

    North, which coincided with the 75th

    anniversary o Pearson Metropark; Na-

    ture Camp, a series o weeklong daycamps that get kids outside or naturediscovery and play; and the Happy

    Trails 5K Run/Walk, which has grown

    every year and reached 850 partici-

    pants in 2009.

    The National Center or Nature

    Photography at Secor marked its fve-

    year anniversary with a major exhibit,

    Americas National Parks: A Monu-

    mental Vision, eaturing stunning,

    large-ormat images by acclaimed

    photographer and environmentalistClyde Butcher. The exhibit attracted

    well over 3,500 visitors rom through-

    out the region and beyond. In all,

    8,500 people toured the galleries o

    the Photo Center in 2009.

    The annual Holidays in the Manor

    House drew nearly 14,000 people

    over eight days, contributing to total

    Manor House attendance or the yearo 36,024 people.

    The Canal Experience at Providence

    had 13,300 visitors in 2009. The

    historical attraction takes school chil-

    dren and amilies back to 1876 when

    canal boats were an important ormo transportation. Ticket sales or the

    boat generated $58,000 to help oset

    the cost o operating the historical at-traction. The new canal season started

    strong in 2010 with 2,270 reservations

    in May, including 1,800 children.

    VolunteersMetroparks is dedicated to providing

    volunteer opportunities that promote

    meaningul community participation,

    use the diverse talents o volunteers

    to expand resources, and educate the

    people o the region about the impor-tance o preserving natural, historical

    and cultural resources.

    More than 3,000 volunteers con-

    tributed 50,500 hours o service to

    Metroparks in 2009. They included

    maintenance volunteers who contrib-

    uted over 10,000 hours, a 31 percent

    increase over the previous year. The

    dedicated members o the Volunteer

    Trail Patrol, who receive training andcommit to ongoing service, contrib-

    uted nearly 9,800 hours, a 42 percent


    The park district received tremendous

    volunteer support rom a variety o

    community organizations, including

    ongoing relationships with Key Bank

    on Neighbors Make a Dierence Day,

    St. Ursula Academy on Day o Caring

    and members o the Hindu Temple

    at Global Youth Service Day. Approxi-mately 200 community groups includ-

    ing schools, religious organizations,

    civic clubs and workplaces are activeeach year in work projects throughout

    the park district.

    New or 2010 are the monthly Main-

    tenance Work Days. Oered at a

    variety o park locations, volunteers

    are invited to work alongside park

    maintenance crews. People with trade

    skills are especially needed. Several

    volunteer interns also can be seen in

    and around the parks. These studentsrom area universities gain real worldexperience while giving back to the


    CommunicationsA new website was launched in Sep-

    tember with the uture in mind. Devel-

    oped by WGTE Public Media and paid

    or with donated unds, the new Me-

    troparksToledo.com was designed to

    be uncluttered and simple to use, yet

    Carson FamilyEllen Biddle Shipman designed many amous gardens across the country or

    prominent amilies o the era, including R.A. Stranahan. Very ew o her high-

    maintenance gardens are still intact, and even ewer are open to the public.

    But Toledo has one o them, and its open every day o the year at the Wild-

    wood Manor House. The garden has been restored in recent years thanks to

    the generous support o the Carson Family Fund at the Toledo Community

    Foundation. Additional work will be done this year to extend the garden tothe cabana restrooms on the Manor House lawn.

  • 8/9/2019 Metroparks Annual Report 2009


    provide more in-depth information for

    those doing more extensive research.

    The new site is used in conjunctionwith Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and

    other social websites to reach out to

    the community and provide informa-

    tion about events and seasonal high-

    lights in nature. By the end of the rst

    quarter of 2010, the Metroparks fan

    page on Facebook already had more

    than 6,000 fans. Enhancements were

    also made to the park districts online

    reservation system used to sign up

    for programs and reserve shelters and

    meeting rooms.

    A 17-minute video, produced byMetroparks, was shown for the rst

    time at a fundraising breakfast in May

    and has been used many times since

    to tell the Metroparks story.

    Connecting With The Future

    DevelopmentMetroparks receives generous support

    from local people and foundations.

    Examples include Dorothy MacKenzie

    Price; the Alfred Wagener Foundation,which sponsors an annual golf outing;the France Stone Foundation, which

    made large contributions to Pearson

    North, the Middlegrounds property in

    downtown Toledo and other projects;

    funds set up by the Staelin and Carson

    families at the Toledo Community

    Foundation, and the Kathryn Johnson

    Scholarship Fund.

    Some additional foundations, corpo-

    rations and families supporting

    Metroparks include: Federation of

    American Womens Clubs Overseas,

    Prudence Lamb Trust, Morgan StanleySmith Barney, D&K Excavating, Fulton

    County Chapter O.H.C. Michael

    Manzella, Bill Belford and the John

    and Virginia Hankison Foundation.

    Fundraising/MembershipsFor several years, Metroparks and

    park visitors have benetted from the

    nancial support of The Andersons.

    Thousands of people enjoyed Pack the

    Parks, the MetroBarks Festival, Happy

    Trails 5K and other programs, thanks

    to the local retailer and agribusi-

    ness company. Events like these areavenues to introduce people to the

    countless benets of Metroparks.

    Metroparks also receives ongoing

    support from Volunteers In Parks,

    Friends of Pearson, Friends of Side

    Cut, Friends of Secor, Friends of the

    Lathrop House, the Manor House

    Volunteers and other groups.

    Metroparks development efforts

    raised a total of $374,000, including

    $88,000 from memberships. An an-nual appeal generated $25,000, while

    a one-hour fundraising/friend-raising

    breakfast in May raised $11,000.

    Nearly 80 percent of Metroparks

    members renewed their member-

    ships in 2009 an above-average

    retention rate for membership pro-

    grams. A special promotion garnered

    413 new members and approximately$20,000.

    Federal Stimulus GrantMetroparks and the USDA Forest

    Service will be helping to keep the

    parks safe for visitors while creating

    jobs over the next two years as thou-

    sands of dead ash trees are removed

    near trails, roads and buildings.

    The urban ecosystem restorationproject is being funded by the Ameri-

    can Recovery and Reinvestment Act(ARRA). The $1.3 million project will

    eliminate hazards by removing thou-

    sands of trees in public areas where

    falling trees and branches pose a risk

    to public safety or property.

    The Metroparks Board of Park Com-

    missioners has begun contracting

    with companies to fell dead or dying

    Pearson North CommitteeBuying a 300-acre addition that

    doubled the size of Pearson

    Metropark was only the begin-

    ning. When Fred Johlin donated

    his familys log home built during

    the Great Black Swamp era, a

    committee formed to raise money

    to move and renovate the building

    to serve as the centerpiece for

    an historical education area. Thecabin opened in August on the

    75th anniversary of Pearson Park.

    Chaired by Friends of Pearsonfounder Terry Breymaier, the com-

    mittee included Mike Hopkins,

    John Szozda, Gary Thompson

    and Michelle Quilter. You can still

    contribute to the ongoing effort

    by purchasing an engraved brick

    to be placed at the site. The Johlin

    Cabin will have public hours thissummer.

    Consider making planned giving one of your Metroparks connections.

  • 8/9/2019 Metroparks Annual Report 2009


    Rentals of picnic shelters and other

    park facilities generated $159,000.

    Long-term Projects

    A committee of staff and volunteers,with input from a series of public

    meetings, completed a General Man-

    agement Plan for a future downtownToledo Metropark located on the for-

    mer Middlegrounds property overlook-

    ing the Maumee River. Each existing

    and future Metropark has a General

    Management Plan, which is used as

    a guide to develop and manage the

    site. A committee was formed in early

    2010 to begin work on a GMP for the

    former Keil Farm property in Toledo.

    ash trees infested by the emerald ash

    borer. The invasive Asian beetle has

    killed tens of millions of ash trees in

    12 states and two Canadian provinces

    since 2002.

    The project will create or sustainabout 15 private-sector green jobs

    in the arborculture and forest restora-tion industry while restoring forest

    ecosystems in the economically-chal-

    lenged greater Toledo area. Additional

    jobs will be created as Metroparks

    hires crews to remove invasive spe-

    cies and restore natural landscapes in

    affected areas.

    Customer ServiceA major initiative to continuously

    improve customer service began this

    winter and will be completed in spring2010. The renovation of the park

    districts Metz Visitor Center, locatedat Wildwood Preserve, will consoli-

    date customer service functions in

    one accessible location at the busiest

    Metropark. Later in 2010, a charming

    farmhouse on the grounds of Wild-

    wood Preserve, which once housed

    the Farmhouse Gift Shop, will be

    renovated as a unique rental facility.

    Manor House rentals continued toincrease for the third consecutive

    year, generating $36,000 in revenue.

    Friends of the Lathrop House have be-

    gun the second phase of restoration

    work on the historic, Underground

    Railroad house at Sylvanias Harroun

    Park. Metroparks is a partner in the

    project, lending its expertise in plan-ning, construction and programming.

    Connecting The Staff To

    The Mission

    Empowering EmployeesSixcess (or 6S) is Metroparks own

    brand of the 5S workplace organiza-

    tion methodology that stands for

    Sorting, Straightening (Set in Order),

    Sweeping (and Shining), Standard-

    izing and Sustaining. Metroparksadded the 6th S, Safety. The system

    involves checklists of standards forpublic areas and maintenance shops,

    which are audited quarterly by teams

    of employees. Overall for 2009, the

    parks met 93 percent of established

    standards. The program is in the

    process of being rolled out to indi-

    vidual ofces, and volunteers are even

    helping the staff 6S trails. Sixcess

    has been an important part of stan-

    dardizing what it means to be clean,

    safe and natural. The Sixcess teamwas invited to present the process at

    a national Productivity Conference in


    Metroparks is dedicated to exceeding

    park visitors expectations by paying

    attention to every detail of service

    delivery. Every employee is expected

    to own and solve visitor problems at

    the moment of rst contact. The em-

    ployee Service Guarantee gives staffthe ability to make it right.

    The Wagener FamilyEach fall since 1999, the Wagener family has gathered to remember their

    father, Al, and to raise money for a cause he would have appreciated. The Al

    Wagener Memorial Golf Outing is held each September at Riverby Hills Golf

    Club. Money raised during the event is donated to Metroparks for the care

    of Audubon Islands State Nature Preserve. The Maumee River island is part

    of Side Cut Metropark, a park that held special meaning to Mr. Wagener.

    Dorothy MacKenzie PriceDorothy MacKenzie Price is one

    benefactor who epitomizes what

    it means to give back to the

    community. For many years, Mrs.

    Price has contributed to causesthat benet people of the Toledo

    area, including Metroparks. Her

    many contributions have provided

    playground equipment for children;

    nature, history and music programs

    for families; equipment and

    recognition for employees; and

    much more.

  • 8/9/2019 Metroparks Annual Report 2009


    As a local leader in conservation of

    natural resources, it is important that

    the Metroparks staff think green in all

    aspects of their jobs. Ecocentric is

    the agencys unique brand name for

    sustainable practices. These prac-

    tices include using green cleaningproducts, bio-fuels and oils, and the

    smallest, most efcient equipment fora given job. This publication and Me-

    troparks Magazine are printed using

    soy-based inks and recycled paper in a

    local, wind-powered printing facility.

    Employee InvolvementThe majority of Metroparks employ-

    ees participated in the park districts

    internal idea program, MetroSparks.

    They submitted 150 ideas, 93 percent

    of which were implemented. Those

    ideas saved Metroparks more than$43,000. Since the MetroSparks

    program began in 2002, employees

    have submitted more than 2,000 ideas

    resulting in a savings of $1.2 million.

    Using the agencys Volunteer Com-

    munity Leave program, employees

    contributed 600 hours of service to 36

    local community organizations.

    Staelin FamilyThe renovations to the Metz

    Visitor Center at Wildwood this

    winter were only the latestimprovements to the historic

    stables building. The courtyardhas been beautifully landscaped

    over the past several years

    thanks to the support of Mr.

    and Mrs. Stephen Staelin, who

    established the Tiffany Elise

    Staelin Fund in memory of

    their daughter. Now, thousands

    of people who stop to rest or

    gather at the patio tables in the

    courtyard can enjoy the beauty

    of the Tiffany Buttery Garden.


    We are so grateful for how professional your staff was to work with. We would

    use the Metroparks again in a heartbeat! Thank you so much to all the staff that

    pulled together to make it happen for my husband and I. You helped make my day

    magical. Note from a bride, Secor wedding

    It really touched the kids to know how people lived. Very informative and great

    presenters; wonderful, fascinating evening with all presenters doing an

    excellent job

    - Underground Railroad Lantern Tour participant

    This was of course on very short notice, but Dad loved Side Cut so much we

    thought it would be nice to gather there in his honor. Both the ranger and the lady

    I spoke with in reservations were just wonderful, understanding and courteous. Ireally appreciated their cooperation.

    Rental survey

    The rangers were very helpful to all of us and represented the Metroparks very

    well. The work on the Towpath was excellent. It was entirely clear, dry and in

    awless condition. I add my thanks to all who worked on it and did such a ne job.

    Towpath Run participant

    My friend had a wonderful time at her baby shower and all of the guests were

    impressed with the facility. I will denitely use you in the future! Thank you again

    for making my event fabulous!

    Manor House rental customer

    A huge THANK YOU toanyone involved in posting the info and pictures of the

    Mountain Bluebird! I didnt know about it until I saw the rst blog and then went

    out and was able to see and enjoy a rare jewel in our vicinity. I really enjoy and

    appreciate the Nature Now blog and read it regularly.

    Facebook fan

    You guys were behind us 100 percent and we really appreciate it. We are very

    proud of the result. Terry Breymaier, chairman, Pearson North Fundraising Committee, to the

    Metroparks board

    The Park Ranger was extremely helpful when I arrivedI cannot say enough

    about his level of customer service. My day would have started off badly if it

    hadnt been for him.

    Rental survey, Ward Pavilion, Wildwood

    Consider making planned giving one of your Metroparks connections.

  • 8/9/2019 Metroparks Annual Report 2009


    Your Metroparks

    Each o the Metroparks oers picnic

    areas, playfelds, trails or hiking and

    cross-country skiing, interpretive inor-

    mation and natural beauty. Each also

    oers something that makes it unique.


    Wildwood Preserve, Sylvania Township

    Pearson, Oregon

    Swan Creek Preserve, Toledo

    Side Cut, Maumee

    Oak Openings Preserve, Swanton

    Farnsworth, Waterville

    Bend View, Waterville

    Providence, Grand Rapids

    Secor, Berkey

    Blue Creek Conservation Area, Whitehouse

    Fallen Timbers Battleeld, Maumee


    Toledo Botanical Garden, Toledo

    The Manor House, Wildwood

    Oak Grove School, Wildwood

    The Canal Experience, Providence

    National Center for Nature Photography, Secor

    The Lathrop House, Harroun Park, Sylvania

    Greenway Trails:

    Towpath Trail (Farnsworth to Providence)

    University/Parks Trail

    Wabash Cannonball Trail

    Partner Agencies:

    Toledo Botanical Garden Board, Inc.

    Natures Nursery

    Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District

    Village of Whitehouse

    Stay Connected

    All parks, administrative ofce,

    reservations: 419-407-9700

    Metroparks o the Toledo Area

    5100 W. Central Ave.

    Toledo, OH 43615

    Websites: MetroparksToledo.com,


    Facebook: mymetroparkspage

    Twitter: @mymetroparks

    Email: webmaster@MetroparksToledo.


    Sign up online or our weekly e-news-

    letter This Week @ Metroparks

    To Preserve and Protect

    the Natural Heritage of

    Northwest Ohio


    To enhance quality o lie and

    inspire preservation eorts in this

    and uture generations by providing

    a regional system o premier natural,

    historical and cultural parklands

    maintained and operated to the

    highest proessional standards.

    Board of CommissionersScott J. Savage, PresidentFritz Byers, Vice President

    Lera L. Doneghy, VicePresident

    Consider making planned giving one of your Metroparks connections.