Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer and Ohio Senate President Keith Faber today announced in western Ohio that the state will invest more than $88.5 million in capital improvements at Ohio State Parks over the next two years.
While it's unclear how much of that investment will be directed toward Grand Lake St. Marys State Park, plans are in the works to install a splash pad for campers and to upgrade the shower houses.
“This unprecedented investment will allow our facilities to match the impressive natural beauty that defines Ohio State Parks,” said Zehringer. “Governor Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly have shown their unequivocal support for strengthening our infrastructure and modernizing our facilities. Ultimately, this money belongs to the taxpayers, and we’re going to make sure Ohioans have a voice as we improve our parks.”
The Kasich administration is committed to investing in Ohio’s infrastructure, including Ohio State Parks. Our outdoor spaces play a critical part in keeping our children healthy and happy as they grow and develop.
“This important investment in Ohio State Parks is about more than providing a great quality of life for our communities, it’s about growing Ohio’s economy and creating jobs,” said Senator Faber. “Our strong fiscal management has given us the opportunity to help our communities maintain their infrastructure and invest in important community projects such as Ohio State Parks that are focused on making sure the Buckeye State is a place where people want to live, work, and raise their family."
These funds are not meant to expand Ohio State Parks, but to serve as a step toward improving and updating our parks for the enjoyment of every visitor. This capital improvement funding will be used to improve state park facilities and lodges across the state. Additionally, bathrooms and campsites will be updated or replaced through much of the parks system. We have been working to identify our most immediate needs and will continue to announce projects as we move through this process.
To assist us in identifying key projects, ODNR has launched a website to allow everyone to submit their ideas for improvements within the Ohio State Parks system. By visiting parks.ohiodnr.gov/improvements, people can fill out a survey to suggest improvements at their favorite state park.
Ohio is proud to be one of only seven states in the nation where admission is free. Many Ohio families and out-of-state residents turn to Ohio State Parks for hiking, fishing, swimming, boating, camping, biking, disc golf, horseback riding and much more.
Last year, 2.3 million people spent at least one night in an Ohio State Park campground, cottage, cabin or lodge. By continuing to improve our state parks system, we have the opportunity to showcase our facilities and draw more tourism dollars into Ohio.