Columbus Dispatch, April 26
Even as state parks bust out in dogwood and redbud bloom, prospects for a desperately needed fix-up also are blossoming.
For years the victim of brutal budget cuts that left all but the most basic maintenance unaddressed, the parks are in line for a $110 million infusion of care over the next two years, thanks to one of the budget bills recently passed in the General Assembly.
That likely will mean infrastructure fixes such as shored-up dams, shorelines and sewer-and-water systems, along with improvements more obvious to visitors: updated bathrooms, repairs to marinas, improved campgrounds and renovations to lodges and cottages.
Although the sum has been called unprecedented, it is only a small start. A 2010 report concluded the parks had a $574 million backlog of deferred maintenance. Converted to 2014 dollars, that's $621 million. And that doesn't count the things that have deteriorated since then...
It will be money well spent, because the state parks are a precious public treasure in a state that has less public land per capita than almost any other...
The fact that the state can start down the path of restoring those things is one more benefit of Gov. John Kasich's skillful fiscal management, which has taken the state in 3 1/2 years from crippling crisis to promising future.