Gov. John Kasich’s final State of the State speech last week has been praised and criticized for what it included and what was left out. But there was one bit of news – the announcement of a new state park that could become Ohio’s largest.
The Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area will be in Morgan, Muskingum, Noble and Guernsey Counties in eastern Ohio, on some of the 60,000 acres of mining lands reclaimed by American Electric Power. Matt Eiselstein of the Department of Natural Resources said the news might have caught some by surprise, but it’s been known at ODNR for a while. “Oh, I mean, when you’ve been talking about the purchase for three years, I don’t know that it was unexpected. We knew where we were in the process.”
The state will spend about $2,000 for each of 13,000 acres – totaling about $26 million. The park is named to honor the life and accomplishments of Jesse Owens, though he was from Cleveland, not eastern Ohio.