MIAMI COUNTY —The Miami County Park District is nearing a record of 1 million visits to its park system, nearly 100,000 more than two years ago.
On Thursday, MCPD Executive Director Scott Myers reported at a regular board of park commissioners meeting that the district was nearing its 1 million visitor in 2019.
The MCPD attendance includes events such as its most popular Fall Fest weekend, Hug the Earth Festival and now the Holiday Lights at Lostcreek — all of which have increased the number of visits to the park district over the last few years.
Commissioner Elizabeth Gutmann asked administrative staff if they were happy with the number of people who have attended the Holiday Lights at Lost Creek Reserve event to date.
Director of Marketing Amanda Smith said the weekend before Christmas will reveal how well the event’s marketing program has worked. Smith said the weekend of Dec. 13-15 exceeded projections with 1,600 vehicles — 900 vehicles on Saturday, Dec. 14, alone. Myers said the goal was to average 1,500 vehicles per weekend — 6,500 total overall for the event — in order to cover various expenses associated with the event.
Myers said more than $41,000 has been raised by the event so far.
Smith said the majority of vehicles are from Miami County.
“We want the county to embrace this and have something close to home,” Smith said. Myers said license plate tracking shows 60 percent of cars are from Miami County, followed by Montgomery County and then Clark County plates.
“We wanted local folks to embrace it and then talk about it, and then it grows from there. We’ve been real excited about it,” Myers said. “It’s been really exciting to see where people are coming from and the excitement.”
The MCPD enlisted a dozen of non-profit organizations to help with various tasks during the event. For their time and efforts, each group receives a $500 donation from the MCPD for their assistance.
Myers said the volunteer groups have been “tremendous” in helping with the event.
The following non-profit organizations are helping direct traffic, take funds and assist park officials along the route during the event: Tipp-Monroe Optimist Club; MCPD Volunteers-In-Parks; Tipp City United Methodist Church; Troy Jr. Trojans – 16 U Softball – Trojan Thunder; Bethel Music Boosters; Laura Lions Club; Troy Bruins Youth Hockey Peewee House; Miami County Rage U-10 Baseball; Kiwanis Club of Troy; Team Grace; Bradford EVSD – Cross Country; BSA Troop 395 – Tipp City; Hospice of Miami County; Boy Scout Troop 413 and Troy Pop Rocks.
Director of marketing Amanda Smith presented a drone video set to music showcasing the Holiday Lights for future advertising use such as television commercials. It also has been posted online on the park district’s social media. The video was made by Above Aerial.
Smith reported the total cost of advertising for the Holiday Lights event is $13,401 to date.
The Miami County Park District will hold its Holiday Lights at Lost Creek Reserve on weekends through Dec. 29. The Holiday Lights will be on display on Fridays and Saturdays from 6-10 p.m. and Sundays from 6-9 p.m. at Lost Creek Reserve, 2645 E. State Route 41, east of Troy. Cost is $10 per vehicle or $30 for passenger vans.
In other news:
• Park commissioners Gutmann, Doug Haines and Dr. Robert Malarkey approved to enter into a contract with Flora Construction to construct a new operations department building at Lost Creek Reserve for a total cost not to exceed $250,000. Plans and specifications were prepared by Candace Goodall.
The facility will allow park employees to perform vehicle and equipment maintenance under roof and will be used as storage for the entire park district. The building will be located near the operations department on the tenant home west of the Knoop residence.
• Park commissioners approved a one-year contract with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office for one deputy for its service.
The contract includes to employ an assigned sheriff’s deputy for 40 hours a week on patrol on ATV and bicycle on the county’s bike trails and county owned parks. The cost is $48.43 per hour. The contract includes the sheriff’s office recent contract negotiations with a 3 percent increase and $1.50 an hour across the board an hour increase in wages for 2020.
• A permanent bench was installed at the Hobart Urban Nature Preserve. It is located on the outer loop of the trails.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com. © 2019 Miami Valley Sunday News; all rights reserved.