LISBON - When you serve on the Columbiana County Park District board, the appointment comes with the understanding you will be a working member in the literal sense of the word.
Members Dottie Betz, Tom Butch and Mike West not only help with the administrative work involved in keeping the park district operating on its small budget, but they also lace up their boots and pitch in with the various projects. All for no pay.
But they need some help, which is why the board voted this month to expand its size from three to five members.
West said the work load has just become too much for him Butch and Betz.
"I was talking to the Millcreek Metroparks, and they told me small park boards need to have five members because smaller park districts generally are more 'hands on,'" he said, adding that is certainly the case with them.
The park district came to be in the 1970s with the creation of the 250-acre Scenic Vista Park off Wayne Bridge Road in Center Township. In the years since, the park district has added the Lisbon-to-Leetonia Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail and, more recently, the 752-acre Hellbender Bluff Park in Madison Township.
There are no full-time maintenance personnel, and the other staff consists of a part-time office secretary. Much of the work is shared among board members, and West said they need help.
"Here, we do just about everything," he said.
Board appointments are made through county Juvenile/Probate Court Judge Tom Baronzzi, and the park board has submitted the names of Justin Conkle and Rachel Esterly to become the fourth and fifth members.
West said Conkle and Esterly are younger, which is a good thing. "We need to get some younger people involved and their energy and ideas," he said. "They bring some talent with them."
Conkle, who lives near Columbiana, is an engineer and recently hired by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, while Esterly works at the East Liverpool campus of Kent State University. She lives outside Lisbon.
Both have volunteered to help at various park district events, which is how they became known to the board. "I know by having them on board, we'll be greatly improved. They are two sharp people," West said.