By LANCE MIHM
Celina police officers this week placed no parking signs along
U.S. 127 near the Beaver Creek to eliminate traffic congestion
caused by local fishermen.
But city officials say they are exploring options to establish
a designated parking area for those wanting to fish the creek
and West Bank Spillway.
Safety-Service Director Mike Sovinski said the signs were put
up due to Ohio Revised Code, which specifies no parking on limited
access highways except for emergencies.
“Fishing is not an emergency,” Sovinski said. “But
I know some people who would argue that with me.”
Fishermen had parked in the once-vacant private property to
the south of Beaver Creek, but the new construction of rental
homes has eliminated that parking area. Then fishermen began
parking along the highway.
“The city owns some land on the north side of Beaver Creek
between (U.S.) 127 and the spillway,” Sovinski said. “If
it is economically feasible and we can get some money donated
for some gravel down there, we could install a parking lot without
a great deal of cost.”
Sovinski said he feels the issue needs to be addressed.
“But it is not a high priority as far as city funds are
concerned,” he said.
Sovinski said he did not recall any accidents since the flashing
yellow light was installed in that area, at the intersection
of U.S. 127 and Schunck Road in August 2001, but there have
been “situations down there that could cause safety issues.”
Celina Police Chief Dave Slusser said the police department
will be enforcing the no parking regulations.
Slusser said he believes recent newspaper articles of big catches
and word of mouth has led to increased popularity for fishing
in Beaver Creek and in the spillway.