Madison County: Planning committee holds marathon meeting

Members of the Madison County Board of Supervisors' planning committee heard numerous presentations on a variety of topics at its April 25 meeting. The proposed Heritage Park acquisition, economic development zone coordinator issues, a rural land preservation initiative, proposed natural gas enhancement tax and potential title transfer kept legislators busy for the better part of five hours.

Heritage Park

Supervisor David Puddington (Eaton) originally presented the idea of the county assuming responsibility for a piece of property in his township for the purposes of designating it a county park at the March 28 planning committee meeting.

"This could be the first true county park in the southern part of the county," Puddington said.

Attorney Chris Kendall, who represents the Heritage Park group, said the county's assumption of ownership of the park would not create any new risks than already exist for its other county parks facilities.

County attorney John Campanie said he would be happy to go through the legal issues and answer questions about the proposed purchase.

"I have not done a comprehensive study, but I've looked into some things," Campanie said.

Campanie said there would be obligatory liability issues and maintenance of the park facility. He said there also is a provision of county law that the facility must be "free from fees."

"That may not mean all fees," Campanie said. "You may be able to charge for parking, museum admission, but it's something else that would have to be researched. I also have not spoken to our insurers."

Puddington said he has spoken with representatives of Morrisville State College's construction and hospitality curricula, and both departments have indicated their ability to help with projects in the 2008 calendar year.

"Heritage Farm could help," Puddington said. "I don't see a large paid complement of people running this thing. The county's primary responsibility would be mowing."

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