The Russell Township Citizens’ Park District board last week approved its budget for next year that includes plans for upkeep of the Upper Chagrin Preserve.

The 2022 budget is $26,561 showing a 28.2 percent increase from this year, officials said.

The budget calls for $10,500 in capital improvements. Proposed spending includes educational materials for West Geauga High School and Gilmour Academy Advanced Placement classes and upkeep of the Upper Chagrin Preserve.

Secretary Maria Livers said this is a “general category because we don’t know what [educational materials the high school classes] might need.

“Those teachers have told us that they have most of the materials in their science classes,” she said. The district partners with the schools for some science classes using parkland as the backdrop.

The township owns the Upper Chagrin Preserve and the park district will maintain it. “We want to put money back into public property,” Mrs. Livers said. “So, our job then is to help to steward the properties that are parks in the area of Russell Township.”

Mrs. Livers also stated that the board looks to rebuild and repair bridges that have a connection to the historical Interurban railroad within the preserve.

“There are old bridges that are either in disrepair or have fallen down completely,” Mrs. Livers said. “We have monies that we can help restore them.”

Mrs. Livers said that the board must wait for the agreement on the two-year lease for the Upper Chagrin Preserve to go through with the Russell Township Trustees, which would be $1 a year.

The board has not heard any news from the trustees regarding the approval of the two-year lease. As the process is “out of the park board’s hands,” when it comes to timing, board member Perry Howland said that it causes concern.

Russell Township Trustees voted 2-1 in support of the board’s stewardship of the Upper Chagrin Preserve on March 17 for a leasing term of two years. Trustee Kristina Port voted in opposition of a two-year lease for the board, stating that a one-year lease would “be sufficient.”

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