Learn About Your Parks

The Shelby County Park District

The Park District is a separate political subdivision created under chapter 1545 of the Ohio Revised Code. As a special district of the State of Ohio, it is operated and controlled at the local level.

Three Park Commissioners are appointed by the Shelby County Probate Judge and serve, without pay, for three year staggered terms. Some of the Board's responsibilities are to establish park policy, control the funds of the park district, and rule on plans for park acquisition and improvement.

The Park Board may acquire land by gift or devise; by purchase for cash or through installment payments, with or without a mortgage; and by entering into leases, lease/purchase agreements, or leases with option to purchase. It may also accept donations of land, money or other property.

Funds for the Park District may come from a levy approved by the voters of Shelby County, park operations receipts, Local Government Funds, County Commissioners allocations, grants, gifts and bequests.

History of the Shelby County Park District

In 1977, a citizen task force formed to look into ways of protecting natural areas of Shelby County. The citizens visited with township trustees, village, and city councils and the county commission to describe the problem and explain their goals. Following the receipt of petitions in support of the Park District, Judge Thomas Eshman held a hearing on June 28, 1978, during which testimony was heard on the issue of creating a Park District. On July 18, 1978, the Shelby County Park District was created, and charged with providing for and protecting Shelby County Natural Areas.

The bylaws of the Shelby County Park District say that the "District shall…operate in the purest manner as the legislative statute (Section 1545, Ohio Revised Code) permits: to preserve open space lands in their natural state."

The Purpose of the Park District is to:

  • Provide unique natural land areas as they become available, where people may enjoy relaxing recreational activities in a natural setting.
  • Develop natural parks that will fill the void between state and municipal/village parks.
  • Preserve the natural environment for the benefit of present and future generations.

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Visit your favorite
Shelby County Park

Lockington Reserve

Hardin Park

Bornhorst Woods

Miami Erie Canal Trail

Renner Nature Reserve and Sanctuary
(not yet open
to the public)