Miami County Park District leaders provided an update on district activities to the county commissioners including a report on a survey and information on plans to hire a full-time park ranger this summer.

The park district is observing its 50th anniversary this year.

Scott Myers, district executive director, and Kevin Swanson, deputy director, talked with commissioners Feb. 22.

Myers said the district has not planned any special anniversary celebration, but is incorporating the anniversary into its events throughout the year.

Visits to the county’s system of parks continue to grow with around 650,000 each year. “That is a real strong number, and it is growing each year,” Myers said.

So far this year, attendance at the parks was up around 10,000 through the middle of February when compared to last year, he said.

Swanson discussed a community survey the district had conducted in 2016.

The purpose, he said, was to get a feel of how the district’s services and branding are resonating with the community. The survey was a combination of a phone poll, online and some social media, he said.

A total 349 people in the county were surveyed. Among findings outlined by Swanson were 82 percent of those surveyed believed parks are important; 83 percent had a good opinion of the county park district in general; and 86 percent believed the district provides a good value.

“We were very pleased with community surveys,” Myers said, adding the results help guide district programming.

Looking ahead, Myers said the district plans this summer to hire a full-time park ranger. The ranger will complement, not replace, the district’s contract with the county for providing a deputy for park patrols, he said. The ranger will be housed at Charleston Falls.

In other business last week, the commission:

-        Approved a police protection contract with the village of Pleasant Hill at a cost of $31,992. The contract calls for 24 hours of police protection a week. The cost reflects a 2.5 percent increase over the 2016 agreement.

-        Accepted the resignation of Charity Hutt, the commissioners office accounts payable clerk effective March 10. She will be taking a job with the Darke County commissioners’ office.

-        Approved an agreement to lease space for the juvenile probation department Piqua office from The Knights of St. John, 110 S. Wayne St. The cost is $1,000 per month during the three-year lease.