Geauga Park District Director of Planning and Operations Matt McCue said Tuesday that plans are in the works for improvements to the Ellerin property. The 129-acre parcel in Bainbridge Township abuts Country Lane to the south and Franklin Street to the west.

Mr. McCue said planners are working through the design, which should be completed at the end of January, at which time there will be an updated cost estimate.

Currently, the estimated project cost is $1.17 million. Mr. McCue plans to advertise for bids in February. Mr. McCue said bids should be presented to commissioners at their March meeting and construction is projected to begin in April.

During the park district meeting, a new commissioner was introduced and board officers elected.

Executive Director John Oros introduced Howard Bates of Claridon as the new commissioner replacing Len Barker. Geauga County Probate Judge Timothy J. Grendell, who appoints park commissioners, swore in Mr. Bates on Dec. 29 at the Geauga County Probate Court. Judge Grendell said in a press release that  Mr. Barker was moving on as the head baseball coach at Notre Dame College.

Mr. Oros noted that Mr. Bates is the owner of Arms Trucking Company in East Claridon, a past president of the Burton-Middlefield Rotary Club and has been involved in Geauga Growth Partnership, Big Brother/Big Sisters and the Burton Township Zoning Commission, among other community service involvement. Mr. Bates has been a Geauga resident since 1973, and raised four children with his wife Patricia.

Andrej Lah was appointed board president, succeeding Jackie Dottore, who was appointed as vice president.

The park board further advised that the next meeting on Feb. 13 has been moved to 8:30 a.m., rather than the typical 9 a.m. start time.

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