Combs Memorial Park waiting for a makeover from trash, drug needles

Clothes are strewn among a stroller and empty food containers in the woods at James G. Combs Park Friday, July 14 in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Clothes are strewn among a stroller and empty food containers in the woods at James G. Combs Park Friday, July 14 in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Needles, trash and used condoms still great visitors who show up at the James G. Combs Memorial Park that sits along B Street with its expansive 65 acres.

The park had been put under the microscope last year when local resident Steve Monnin made it his personal project to help rid the area of used heroin needles, trash and other unsavory items that had made it an eyesore.

MORE: Resident on one-man crusade to clean up Hamilton’s Combs Park

His efforts earned recognition from the local Masonic Lodge, as an “important community service to the city.”

“The place really had become a dump and there were needles everywhere,” Monnin, 57, told the Journal-News.

Located near the Great Miami River and part of the Miami Conservancy District, the park has the potential to be a drawing card to the area, Monnin said.

“I had been hauling trash out of here in my truck along with the needles and keeping it clean,” Monnin said. “There could be fishing tournaments here and people should be able to bring their kids out here.”

To his dismay a lot of trash still is in the park and on Friday afternoon several visitors walked past used condoms on the ground, trash strewn in the grass in several areas.

Explore MORE: City asks for input on future of Combs Park

A young man walking towards the homeless camp, which is a 10 minute walk from the main entrance of the park, declined to speak to the Journal-News. But the location was filled with used food items and trash, and a picture frame was dumped in the grass and several items of clothes were spread out in the area among packages of empty food.

More: One man's cleanup efforts inspire others to help Hamilton park

Monnin said that the area “is pretty well know to people, but there is a need to get things cleaned up.

The park is part of the Miami Conservancy District. Steve Timmer, director of the Hamilton Parks Conservancy, said the city has been discussing ideas.

Timmer said there is a preliminary plan that includes removing honeysuckle from wooded areas and replacing it with native species, as well as new access from B Street with extensive landscaping involved.

The boat ramp will be getting an upgrade, with watercraft access and shaded seating will accompany improved trails. A massive clean-up is also on the drawing board.

But Timmer said the final plan that would be recommended for approval, should be ready in late July or early August.

More: Crowd watches Hamilton dedicate new Marcum Park

Timmer said it will be a challenge to get more boaters and fisherman to the area and to get people to feel comfortable coming to the park for family outings. But he says he hopes the plan can address those concerns as well as have a realistic budget.

Joseph Clark, 51, from Cincinnati, was at the park enjoying a sunny Friday and he said he remembers a time when the park was in better shape, but still thinks there is a chance to get things fixed up.

“I would like to see it like it was, but things take time and money to fix,” he said. “It takes plenty of money to fix anything.”

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