Kasich, ODNR Announce Jesse Owens State Park in SE Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Ohio's governor announces the state's newest and largest state park, naming it for a Buckeye great and Olympic medalist.

John Kasich stood with Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer at Jesse Owens Stadium Tuesday to announce Jesse Owens State Park, near McConnelsville. Owens' daughter, Marlene, attended the announcement.

"It was not like, 'let's figure out a name'. I wanted to name it the Jesse Owens State Park. Jesse Owens, to me, is like one of my heroes," Kasich said.

Meyer's remarks included a brief moment of recollection of history from his studies of Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, in which German dictator Adolf Hitler was in the audience and had athletes participating. "Walking into that arena, and the, I hate to say it like this, but the hatred or the eyes pointed at this guy and he said, 'you know, I'm going to go do my very best', and he did," Meyer said.

What is now Jesse Owens State Park has been a reclamation site owned by AEP for years.

"The state is purchasing 13,000 acres of land from AEP over the next three years, with the chance to purchase more acreage down the road," says James Zehringer, Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The land was once home to the Big Muskie, the largest strip mining machine in the eastern United States. Its shovel is large enough to pick up a two-story house in one scoop.

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