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Petition pushes Port Clinton public parks to ballot

Alex Green • Jun 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM

green@oc-register.com

Port Clinton voters will likely have a new voting issue on the November ballot.

Members of Citizens Organized for Responsible Development, or CORD, say they have collected nearly 300 signatures on 16 copies of a petition, requesting for the citizens' right to vote on future decisions involving city parks.

CORD spokesman Don Finke recently said the group needed between 150 and 175 signatures based on the city's population.

He said the group's goal was slightly more than 200, though the group has apparently inked 280 signatures from city residents.

Speculation was that the group distributed the petitions to oppose the proposed Waterworks Park project. But members insist the issue is bigger than one property.

"There has been a history of disregard in this city," Finke said. "This is not just about Waterworks Park. This is about protecting all city parks."

CORD members have expressed several reasons why they specifically oppose Waterworks Park development.

They believe the park's founder, Ezekiel Haines, designated the park to remain an open space forever nearly 200 years ago. Furthermore, they have expressed concerns about the city financing $6 million of the proposed project, the condos that would be built, and the potentially obstructed view of Lake Erie.

"Congratulations to all CORD members who have worked so hard in bringing about a positive change," one member said in an email.

The petitions will be reviewed by the Ottawa County Board of Elections. Ottawa County Auditor Larry Hartlaub said his office is not involved in the process.

As CORD continues to try to cease future park development, city council members seem poised to continue with their $60 million plan that would build a lodge, boardwalk, condos and retail space.

Council members Jerry Tarolli and Margaret Phillips recently said the citizens' right to vote is, in fact, their right.

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