Ohio parks group supports MetroParks bike path appeal before Supreme Court
The Mill Creek park board has an ally in it's legal battle to use eminent domain to acquire property to extend a bikeway.
The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association has filed a brief with the Ohio Supreme Court supporting the Mill Creek MetroParks Board of Commissioners challenge to an appeals court ruling that found the park couldn't use eminent domain to acquire property for its planned third phase of bikeway from Western Reserve Road south towards Washingtonville.
According to its website, the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association is a non-profit, public interest organization representing over 2,050 professionals and citizen board members striving to provide quality park and recreational facilities and opportunities for Ohioans while protecting and preserving Ohio’s natural resources.
MetroParks is seeking 6.5 miles of right-of-way through property owned by several landowners in Green Township, including Diane Less, who is named as the defendant in the case, and other Green Township property owners.
The park board claims the lower courts erred in their decisions, which ruled in favor of Less and the other property owners on April 14.
In that ruling, the Circleville-based 4th District Court of Appeals found that MetroParks did not give a legal reason for acquiring the easement in the Less and Green Valley properties, another property that is involved in the lawsuit.
The park board said it began acquiring the property for the bikeway more than 20 years ago through the purchase of a former railroad bed. The 11-mile Phase I and II of the bike trail which runs from Niles to Canfield Township first opened in 2000.
Diane Less, who owns Paul Less Farm in Green Township says she would be cut off from her horse trail at her farm and a family cemetery if the bike trail by Mill Creek goes in as planned.