County Engineer Todd Roth acknowledges he’s aware of the complaints that have been voiced both on social media and in phone calls to his office about conditions at George Bible Park.
The footbridge, which crosses the pond at its narrowest point, is currently deemed structurally unsafe and is closed. Meanwhile a thick, stagnant coating of bright green algae covers almost the entire surface of the pond.
“We realize Bible Park needs work, needs improvement,” Roth — who also chairs the Williams County Park Board — told county commissioners at their regular Thursday meeting.
The pond’s issue is twofold: There is no flow or movement of the water to keep it from stagnating, and the pond lacks depth — it averages just about five feet deep — and needs to be dredged deeper.
Bible Park, located at county roads 13 and J, is owned by the county and operated by the three-member park board. It’s named for George Bible, an early Williams County settler.
Roth said there’s been discussion within the park board about installing some type of aerator to keep the pond water moving. And he said he would like to dredge the pond, but hasn’t found the original plans to fully understand the pond’s depths at different spots, so he’s hesitant to just start dredging and risk breaking the layer of clay at the bottom of the pond, which could then cause the pond to drain away.
The issue is finding money, so he’s planning to apply for funding through several potential sources, while working on plans to repair the bridge.
Commission President Brian Davis suggested exploring funding through the state capital improvement budget, which he noted helped the county pay for the recent Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) radio tower.
Commissioner Lew Hilkert also referred Roth to someone he said is knowledgeable about ponds who works at the Oak Openings Preserve Metropark.
Interestingly, Roth said long-term plans at Bible Park include installing a dock on the east side of the pond to serve as a canoe and kayak launch.
Roth said maintenance at Bible Park has languished. He said the engineering department and park board have been focused this summer on completing construction of a new 18-hole Frisbee golf course, along with other improvements at Opdycke Park, in order to comply with the time schedule and funding requirements for the project.
The course winds over and across Beaver Creek and through Opdycke Park, a county-owned green space located east of the intersection of county roads 16 and J, just north of the Hillside Country Living facility.
He said the new course is nearly complete and should be open this fall, as originally planned.