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Mill Creek board seeks more input on fracking

Published: Wed, October 10, 2012 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern



Mill Creek MetroParks Board of Commissioners formally introduced a new executive director and announced two public hearings to gather information about hydraulic fracturing.

Dennis Miller, a 14-year MetroParks employee, succeeded Clarke Johnson as executive director Sept. 18.

Board president Robert Durick acknowledged receiving a petition from concerned residents who wanted a nationwide search conducted for Johnson’s replacement, but Tuesday night he defended the board’s decision to hire Miller, who was responsible for managing the golf course, Wick Recreation Area and Judge Morley Pavilion before being appointed director.

“I see [Miller] sitting in the executive director chair for many years,” Durick said.

Miller, who is the fourth permanent executive director since 2002, said he will strive to manage all aspects of the park wisely.

“I understand and respect the park’s history and the legacy of Volney Rogers,” he said.

Harry Meshel, a former state senator and park commissioner, praised the decision to hire Miller during public comment. Meshel was on the board when Miller was hired as a golf pro.

“I understand about national searches. ... You can search all over the world but often times, you find the jewel right in your back yard,” Meshel said.

In other business, the park board announced dates for public hearings to discuss hydraulic fracturing and leasing mineral rights in the MetroParks.

The first public hearing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Davis Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens. During the first hour, the board will hear from Rhonda Reda, executive director of Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

The second hearing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 25 at the MetroParks Farm in Canfield. The board said each resident will receive two minutes, but also could pool their time and address the board as a group.

Durick said the hearings are for factfinding purposes and said no decision nor direct debate will occur.

Youngstown resident Lynn Anderson and others questioned the board about Reda, saying OOGEEP is not an unbiased organization and promotes natural gas and oil exploration in Ohio.

“OOGEEP is funded exclusively by Ohio’s crude oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners through a voluntary assessment on the production of all crude oil and natural gas produced in Ohio,” according to the organization’s website.

The board was expected to discuss the 10-year strategic park plan Tuesday, but because of scheduling conflicts between the board and PROS Consulting, LLC, a full-service management consulting and planning firm hired to help with the plan, the discussion was postponed.

Durick said the board should approve a final version at its December meeting.


1michael1757(487 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

It's called Mill Creek PARK,not mill creek wide open field. It's part of the park,& in no uncertain term's should drilling be allowed on that property. It's a park,to be enjoyed,& enjoyment is NOT looking at a drilling rig or listening to it. It's suppossed to be a place of quiet,& solitude.Not noise & an eyesore.

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2golfnut(30 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

This type of drilling occurs miles away from the site by horizontal drilling. We all need to have the facts about this process presented so all concerns are addressed. It sounds like the Board is doing just that.

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3jeepers(127 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

In general, I would like the Park left pristine as we received it from those before us. IF drilling can be done WITHOUT polluting the water any more than it is already, I would think drilling should be allowed at a slower pace to see if any unknown factors show up that were not foreseen.Drilling sounds ok, trouble is, there are always accidents. Hopefully any of the unforeseen accidents, spills,leaks are small enough to pollute only a limited area. The energy obtained can be a boost to our economy-we have to market what we have, not what we used to have[steel] Like most of you-I use oil as a necessity-but I do not like earthquakes that seem to happen after fracking begins. Just my thoughts on the matter.

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4Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Fact its a PARK not a business. It was designed to enjoy nature. Leave the fracking park alone! These drillers even wanted to drill under the Poland cemetery? Good God people how greedy can you be? Have some respect. How many of the so called leases have been horizontally fracked? Big difference. Also folks this area meaning parts of Mahoning County have been mined previously we don't need the dangers associated with those possibilities.

It is not worth it.

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5Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Let the people vote on the matter ! That is the democratic way to decide. We vote for whether or not establishments may be permitted to sell alcohol .

Holding meetings when for all we know the decision has already been made isn't democratic at all. It smells bad. Let the ballot box do the talking. The park belongs to the people so let the people decide and let the board carry out those wishes. That is the American way.Do it!

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6Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Also allow some folks who are concerned CITIZENS oversee the process so there is some oversight with regard to vote counting and legitimacy.

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