Officials Honor GLSM Park Pool Renovation

State officials and local public figures take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday at the Grand Lake St. Marys pool.
Managing Editor

It was a busy day for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and for good reason.

They started their day at Lake Loramie for the dedication of the lake's spillway, with a visit to the dedication of the Indian Lake Spillway in Russells Point and concluding it with "ODNR Day" at the Columbus Clippers minor league baseball game.

Sandwiched between those spillway dedications, however, was the dedication to the Grand Lake St. Marys State Park pool Friday afternoon.

The project is part of a statewide initiative ODNR and other state officials have undertaken to invest in enhancing state-owned properties in an effort to ensure Ohioans and visitors to all of the state's parks have modern, up-to-date facilities.

"We want to not only continue to improve our campgrounds and parks, but also the region so people keep coming back," ODNR Director Jim Zehringer said.

The dedication featured short speeches from Zehringer, State Rep. Keith Faber (R-Celina) and other park and Auglaize and Mercer county officials.

The pool — which is on a 142-feet-by-110-feet concrete pad — is a $1.3 million project that was completed around Memorial Day.

"I live right down the road so this is literally our back yard and its important that our back yard, our community and our quality of life activities be second to none," Faber said.

Faber reminisced about the half-billion dollars invested in Grand Lake St. Marys State Park during the recession. His passion for the park led him to discuss with Zehringer and Ohio Gov. John Kasich about the importance of investing in the capital infrastructure in the park systems in not only GLSM, but other state parks around Ohio as well.

In an effort to invest in improving state parks, ODNR took five precent of their receipts back into a maintenance program to insure that money will always be set aside to maintain the parks.

The renovation of the pool is just a piece of the ongoing effort throughout the area to improve GLSM and the amenities that surround it."Grand Lake St. Marys is a jewell in my eyes," he said. "The reality is, we have had challenges and we are working to fix those challenges. We have now invested close to $20 million in improving Grand Lake St. Marys.

"It didn't get into its current condition overnight and it is not going to get cleaned up overnight, but we are a lot better today than we were just a few years ago. It is getting better every single year."