PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
January 9, 2023

Medina County Park District, in collaboration with Friends of Medina County Parks, Achieves Two Top Honors

first place award in the Management Innovation1Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) has announced its 2023 Annual Awards of Excellence winners. Medina County Park District and Friends of Medina County Parks won the first-place award in the Management Innovation category for the Brown-Trump Homestead and Recovery Farm. In addition to earning this award, the collaborative project has been nominated as one of three finalists for the 2023 Governor’s Award for Parks and Recreation. The Governor’s Award for Parks and Recreation was established in 2010 to recognize the one park and recreation project, program, or event that has had the most significant impact on quality of life in the preceding year.

In May 2022, Medina County Park District (MCPD) and its nonprofit partner, Friends of Medina County Parks, Inc. (FOTP), were chosen by executors of the Brown-Trump estate to become the stewards of a well-known but, perhaps, misunderstood ‘farm in the city’ on State Route 18. The property, which includes three houses—most notable of which is a Victorian-era home—plus several outbuildings, was owned by Mr. Edson J. Brown and Mr. Ross M. Trump, both prominent antique dealers. Located at 4092 Medina Road, next to Medina Hospital, the land is protected by a restrictive conservation easement, a legal document held by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Most of the property has to remain open space or be farmed. It cannot host walking trails or be used for any commercial purposes.

It was Brown and Trump’s wishes that their Medina Township property be preserved as a working farm for cultural, educational, and aesthetic purposes; as a green gateway to the city of Medina and a way to balance encroaching commercial development; as a museum and historical site; and as a community space that inspires future generations.

In 2023, MCPD entered into a ten-year lease with Hope Recovery Community (HRC), a Medina-based nonprofit that provides recovery housing for men with substance use disorder. The document’s execution was 11 months in the making, but it signified the unofficial start of the Brown-Trump Homestead — a unique collaborative partnership that established a first-of-its-kind recovery farm unlike anything else in the Midwest, perhaps even the country. HRC is dedicated to increasing sustained recovery by providing hope, support, advocacy, and resources to those impacted by addiction. The non-profit receives funding from Medina County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board.

In place of rent, HRC is responsible for maintaining the residential house, which increased the organization’s housing program by nearly 43 percent. HRC leads agricultural programming on the grounds and also develops several workforce tracts for the residents of the house and local recovery community. In the first year of the farm, Feeding Medina County received more than 1,000 pounds of produce grown at the Brown-Trump Homestead.

Although the Brown-Trump Homestead is not open daily to the general public, there will be opportunities for special events and tours in the future. With funds from the estate, FOTP and MCPD are in the process of restoring the Victorian, which was built in 1874. Once restored, the historic brick home will include display space for the Medina County Historical Society as well as offices for FOTP and a meeting space for local nonprofits.

The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on February 6, 2024 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio. One first place award winner will be presented with the 2023 Governor’s Award, a “best-in-show” award which includes a $500 contribution to the parks and recreation foundation of the agency winner.

“Parks and recreation professionals throughout Ohio work every day to improve the quality of life of the people they serve,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. “This effort is a shining example of that kind of work, and we are pleased to be able to present this award.”

The awards are judged by a panel of parks and recreation professionals from around Ohio.

Incorporated in 1963, OPRA is a non-profit, public interest organization representing over 2,000 professionals and citizen board members striving to provide quality parks and recreation facilities and opportunities for all Ohioans while protecting and preserving Ohio's natural resources, positively impacting local economies and health and wellness of its citizens.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
January 3, 2024

Chippewa Lake Park Expands with 44-Acre Donation

pondOn December 5, 2023, Rob Smykal and his sister, Kris Mason, made a generous donation of 44 acres to the Medina County Park District (MCPD). This significant contribution, comprised of two parcels, is situated north of the Krabill Lodge near Chippewa Lake, contiguous with MCPD land.

The date of the donation held special significance, as it coincided with the birthday of their late father, Bob Smykal, who, alongside his wife Beverly, purchased the property in the 1970s. The Smykal family created lasting memories on the site, hosting picnics, fishing in a small pond, and camping out while enjoying radio broadcasts of baseball games.

Upon Bob's passing in December 2022 at the age of 96, his children, Rob and Kris, inherited the property. Their decision to donate it to the MCPD reflects a deep-rooted desire to preserve the land in its natural state, ensuring it remains untouched by development.

Rob and Kris expressed a shared sentiment regarding the property donation: “We are very excited this property will be preserved for future generations to enjoy. The Medina County Park District is a wonderful asset of Medina County and its residents, we know they will be an excellent steward of this property.”

The property's rich history aligns seamlessly with the MCPD's plans for extensive trails in the Chippewa Watershed. While development of this newly acquired land is projected to be at least five years away, the park district is currently focusing its efforts toward revitalizing a section of the former Chippewa Amusement Park. Rob and Kris envision a future where their children and grandchildren can continue to enjoy the property's beauty and tranquility for years to come.


12/6/23

Proposed Rule Changes for Chippewa Lake -- Click HERE to download a pdf.

If you were unable to attend the open house that took place on December 5, you can submit your feedback by filling out the Contact Us form: https://medinacountyparks.com/index.php/contacts. You can also send an email to Deb Green, regulatory coordinator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Parks and Watercraft at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Please put Chippewa Lake Rules in the subject line.

In the weeks ahead, MCPD will be actively collaborating with local community stakeholders to review suggestions and educational initiatives. Additionally, MCPD will strengthen law-enforcement measures in 2024. This collective effort aims to ensure the safe and optimal operation of Chippewa Lake for a variety of user groups. Thank you for your participation in the process of making our community spaces better for everyone.


UPDATED MEETING LOCATION AS OF 12/1/23

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
November 21, 2023 

Open House Scheduled to Discuss Chippewa Lake Rule Changes

Medina County Park District will host an open house to discuss proposed rule changes for Chippewa Lake at Buffalo Creek Retreat on Tuesday, December 5, with two sessions available: 4 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. Buffalo Creek Retreat is located at 8708 Hubbard Valley Road in Seville. No registration is required.

Deb Green, regulatory coordinator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Parks and Watercraft, will be present to listen to feedback on these proposed changes. Please note that any modifications to Chippewa Lake's rules must receive approval and filing by the ODNR.

Click HERE to download the Proposed Rule Changes pdf.

The open house WILL NOT address docking, just proposed rule changes for lake use.

If you are unable to attend the open house, you can submit your feedback by filling out the Contact Us form: https://medinacountyparks.com/index.php/contacts. You can also send an email to Deb Green, regulatory coordinator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Parks and Watercraf at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Please put Chippewa Lake Rules in the subject line. Thank you for your cooperation.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
August 28, 2023

New Commissioner Appointed to Park Board

VennerJudge Kevin W. Dunn has appointed Sharon Township resident Jason C. Venner to the three-person Board of Commissioners for Medina County Park District (MCPD), joining Dennis B. Neate of Medina Township and Kathleen E. Davis of Wadsworth Township. The vacancy was created when Commissioner Andrew de Luna, of Lodi, passed away in June. Judge Dunn swore in Venner last week.

Venner is vice president of Wadsworth-based Clampco Products, Inc. He has a bachelor's degree in English Literature, a master's degree in Fine Arts, and is a graduate of Leadership Medina County's Signature program.

"I'm looking forward to helping the district's stakeholders, employees, and community members protect, enhance, and preserve this wonderful part of our community's well-being," Venner said of the appointment.

MCPD is a political subdivision organized under Ohio Revised Code. Commissioners are volunteers who are appointed by the probate judge and serve without compensation. The board supervises the financial reports of the park district and matters of policy, and it employs a director/secretary who is responsible for day-to-day supervision and serves as spokesperson for the board.


  FriendsLogo2

6364 Deerview Lane • Medina, OH 44256 • 330.722.9364 • 1.844.722.9364
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For Immediate Release
August 21, 2023

Medina, Ohio - Friends of Medina County Parks, Inc. has announced the receipt of a gift from the estate of Mary Gienke in the amount of $1,112,000.  The largest cash gift made to Friends to date, the majority of the funds will be directed to the nonprofit’s Endowment Fund.  A 501(c)3 charitable organization, Friends exists to support the mission of Medina County Park District. 

Roy and Mary Gienke were long-time residents of Medina County. Roy was born in Valley City.  He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. After graduating from Kent State University with a Master of Arts in Education, he spent his entire career with the Highland Local Schools, where he taught, coached, and was Principal at the elementary and middle school levels.

 Mary was born in Columbus and grew up in the shadow of The Ohio State University.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from OSU and moved to Cleveland, where she worked in business administration for the Glidden Company.  It was while living in Cleveland that she met Roy.

The couple moved to Medina to be near the Highland school district.  Upon Roy’s retirement, they moved to the Western Reserve Masonic Community, where they lived out their lives.  Both were active in St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Medina and Roy was active with Kiwanis Club of Medina. 

Vice-president of Friends of Medina County Parks Bob Thompson and Nathan Eppink, director of Medina County Park District, accepted the check from the executor of the estate, William Haueisen, nephew of the Gienkes.  “This gift will make a significant impact on the support Friends of Medina County Parks can provide to the park district.  It will be witnessed by Medina County Residents for years to come,” Thompson said of the gift.

According to Eppink, gifts such as these provide welcome support for the park district.  “As the park district works to provide additional improvements for the benefit of Medina County residents, support from the community will enhance what can be accomplished,” Eppink said.

A portion of the funds will be earmarked for park improvements that will memorialize the gift.  The balance will be added to the Friends’ Endowment Fund to provide annual assistance to the park district through income from the fund.

For information about the Endowment Fund and planned giving, please contact Development Coordinator Natalie Peacock at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 330-722-9364.

 

Gienke Gift

Photo caption:  William Haueisen (right), executor of the estate of Mary Gienke, presents a check to Bob Thompson (to his left), Vice President of Friends of the Parks Trustees and Medina County Park District Director Nathan Eppink. (MCPD Photo)


PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
July 13, 2023

Portions of Chippewa Inlet Trail to Close for Wetland Restoration and Trail Reconstruction

Beginning in late July, the Chippewa Inlet Trail will be closed through summer 2024 for a wetland restoration and trail reconstruction project between Wedgewood Road (State Route 162) and Chippewa Road. The project will focus on diverting water from the Chippewa Inlet through more than 4,000 feet of linear wetland to reduce nutrients and improve water quality north of Chippewa Lake. Portions of the trail will be permanently re-routed to accommodate the wetland restoration. The project will also improve sections of the popular walking and biking trail by making it more accessible during wet weather. The portions of the trail located north of Wedgewood Road through Buckeye Woods Park will remain open during construction.

Funding for the wetland construction project is provided by H2Ohio. Launched by Governor Mike DeWine in 2019, H2Ohio is a collaborative water quality effort to provide clean and safe water to Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency each has a significant role in H2Ohio through the natural infrastructure of wetlands, the reduction in nutrient runoff, and increasing access to clean drinking water and quality sewer systems. To learn more, visit h2.ohio.gov.

Read more in the Medina Gazette: https://medina-gazette.com/news/358914/portion-of-chippewa-inlet-trail-to-close-for-restoration-project/


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
June 27, 2023

Hiking Trails at Oenslager Nature Center/Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary will be Open Every Day with Expanded Evening Hours Starting on July 1

As of July 1, 2023, the hiking trails at Oenslager Nature Center/Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary will be open for exploring on a daily basis from 6 a.m. to one hour past sunset Monday through Sunday. Over four miles of trails take visitors through an amazing array of landscapes -- including mature forest, wetlands, meadow, and prairie. The new hours will allow the public, specifically those who work during the day, more opportunities to enjoy nature and hike at the wildlife sanctuary in the evening.

The 248-acre Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the park district’s Oenslager Nature Center. The site is named after Ruth and George Oenslager, who donated the original 103 acres with the provision that the land be used for environmental education in its use as a public park. An adjacent 145 acres were acquired in 1999.

The nature center opened in October of 2000 and has the feeling of a comfortable, rambling farmhouse with its natural wood interior, back porch, and inviting stone fireplace. Its educational spaces include a large gathering room, a laboratory, a library, and a classroom. The hours for the nature center will remain the same: Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m.

Since this site is a wildlife sanctuary, the park district seeks to minimize disturbance to the natural communities. For that reason, pets, fishing, biking, and picnicking are not permitted. There is a port-a-potty in the parking lot for use by visitors when the nature center is closed. Click HERE to learn more about the site.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
March 7, 2023

Park District Partners with Cleveland Museum of Natural History to Restore and Manage Cox Nature Preserve

Medina County Park District (MCPD) has entered into a 25-year lease agreement with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to restore and manage a portion of the 69-acre Cox Nature Preserve, located on Wooster Pike Road (State Route 3) in Guilford Township. This agreement marks the first time the Museum, which stewards more than 12,300 acres of nature preserves throughout northern Ohio, has partnered with a park district to develop and manage the infrastructure at one of its preserves. The Museum's preserves largely consist of high-quality biodiverse lands that represent the best examples of the many habitats that historically existed in the region.

This unique partnership will allow for increased access to the preserve, making it the fourth Museum-stewarded preserve to provide public access. The level of access to the Cox Nature Preserve is made possible by the partnership between the Museum and MCPD, which leverages each organization’s complementary expertise. While the Museum will focus on biodiversity and conservation, MCPD will focus on creating an exceptional experience for the public.

“At the core of the Museum’s mission is the fostering of respect for and stewardship of nature. We put this idea into practice by protecting and preserving natural areas located throughout northern Ohio,” said Garrett Ormiston, Manager of Preserve Operations for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. “Through our agreement with the Medina County Park District, we will be able to welcome the public to the Cox Nature Preserve. We hope to continue building these critical partnerships throughout our region.”

Formerly an agricultural field, the park district will work with the Museum to restore 21 acres of the preserve by managing invasive species, seeding approximately 15 acres with native wildflowers and grasses, and reforesting 5 acres with 2,500 bareroot seedlings. In December, MCPD’s natural resources staff began by seeding a portion of the property with a seed mixture funded by the Museum. Seedlings will be planted this spring.

MCPD Natural Resource Manager Jim Spetz stated: “We’re excited to be collaborating with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to help manage this portion of the preserve, both as a living ‘museum’ and as a diverse habitat for wildlife.”

Future improvements to the site may include a half-mile natural surface, mowed-in trail and a small parking lot. However, due to the sensitive nature of the wooded section at Cox Nature Preserve and the Museum’s focus on biodiversity, public access to this area will be limited only to special programs and research. Spetz said approximately 30 acres of the preserve includes mature forest habitat with some exceptional trees that may be more than 200 years old.

MCPD Director Nathan Eppink echoed Spetz’s enthusiasm for the collaboration but noted that it will be several years before an entrance and trail are considered.

Medina County Park District is a local and regional leader in conservation, education, and the protection of natural resources. Employees take pride in the parks, trails, programs, and community; ensure quality outdoor experiences; protect public investments; plant the forests and prairies of tomorrow; and develop the next generation of stewards. Established in 1965, the district manages 8,300 acres and over 50 different trails.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History illuminates the world around us and inspires visitors to engage with the natural forces that shape their lives. Since its founding in 1920, the Museum has pioneered scientific research to advance knowledge across diverse fields of study and used its outstanding collections, which encompass more than 5 million artifacts and specimens, to deepen the public’s understanding of the dynamic connections between humans and nature. A community gathering place, educational center, and research institution, the Museum is a vital resource that serves Cleveland and the nation. For more information, visit CMNH.org.


lmPRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
January 10, 2023

Park District, Partners Building Recovery Farm Like None Other

Last month, Medina County Park District (MCPD) entered into a 10-year lease with Cathy’s House, a Medina-based nonprofit that provides recovery housing for men with substance use disorder. The document’s execution was 11 months in the making, but it signified the unofficial start of the Brown-Trump Homestead—a unique collaborative partnership with both Cathy’s House and Hope Recovery Community—that will establish a first-of-its-kind recovery farm unlike anything else in the Midwest, perhaps even the country.

“We are grateful for this amazing partnership and collaboration with Hope Recovery Community and the Medina County Park District,” said Jon Robinson, executive director of Cathy’s House. “Hope Recovery Community had a vision for workforce development and farming early last year, and to be a part of this is incredible.”

In May 2022, MCPD and its nonprofit partner, Friends of Medina County Parks, Inc. (FOTP), were chosen by executors of the Brown-Trump estate to become the stewards of a well-known but, perhaps, misunderstood ‘farm in the city’ on State Route 18. The property, which includes three houses—most notable of which is a Victorian-era home—plus several outbuildings, was owned by Mr. Edson J. Brown and Mr. Ross M. Trump, both prominent antique dealers. Located at 4092 Medina Road, next to Medina Hospital, the land is protected by a restrictive conservation easement, a legal document held by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Most of the property has to remain open space or be farmed. It cannot host walking trails, nor can it be used for any commercial purposes.

Those limitations did not dissuade MCPD and FOTP from developing a proposal last February for the executors’ consideration. Included in the proposal was the idea that the newest home on the property, built in 2001, would be leased to Cathy House to house men in recovery. In place of rent, Cathy’s House will be responsible for maintaining the house, which will immediately increase the organization’s housing program by nearly 43%. Hope Recovery Community will lead the agricultural programing on the grounds and will also develop several workforce tracts for the residents of the house and local recovery community. Eventually, food that is produced on the property will benefit the recovery community as well as Feeding Medina County, a local non-profit combating food insecurity in Medina County.

“This collaboration is profound,” said Stefanie Robinson, executive director of Hope Recovery Community. “Seeing the park district, Cathy’s House, Hope Recovery Community, and Feeding Medina County working together to bring this farm back to life, support people impacted by addiction, increase housing and workforce opportunities, and combat food insecurities . . . it’s beyond anything we have seen anywhere.”

It was Brown and Trump’s wishes that their Medina Township property be preserved as a working farm for cultural, educational, and aesthetic purposes; as a green gateway to the city of Medina and a way to balance encroaching commercial development; as a museum and historical site; and as a community space that inspires future generations. Nathan Eppink, director of MCPD, said the Brown-Trump Homestead achieves each of those goals.

“This won’t be a typical park district site, but our impact on the community here will be immeasurable,” Eppink said. “I got to see that in real time last October, when Hope Recovery Community and residents of the Cathy’s House program helped establish a small orchard on the property. One of the participants said he was grateful to be there, to feel the sunshine that morning, because several months ago, he couldn’t feel anything. It was powerful.”

Although the Brown-Trump Homestead will not be open daily to the general public, there will be opportunities for special events and tours in the future, but Eppink said that is likely at least two years away. With funds from the estate, FOTP and MCPD will begin restoring the Victorian, which was built in 1874. Once restored, the historic brick home will include display space for the Medina County Historical Society as well as offices for FOTP and a meeting space for local nonprofits.

“Ultimately, this is about preservation and quality of life in Medina County,” Eppink said. “Our board and our employees are honored and excited to be involved.”


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
November 15, 2022

Feeding Medina County and Medina County Park District’s Food Distribution Partnership in Lodi Wins First-Place Award of Excellence

The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) has announced the winners of its 2022 Annual Awards of Excellence. Feeding Medina County and Medina County Park District were awarded first place in the Health and Wellness Programs & Events category for their unique partnership.

Medina County Park District’s mission includes the words “to enhance the quality of all life,” but that doesn’t always take the form of parks, trails, and conservation. Beginning last year, the park district partnered with local food pantry Feeding Medina County (FMC) to bring monthly food distribution events to the district’s then-underused Hidden Hollow Camp just outside the village of Lodi, where nearly 15% of residents live in poverty. By doing so, FMC and its volunteers—some of whom are park district staff—are able to serve those in need close to home in a beautiful park area that is open to all.

Katy Fuerst, executive director of Feeding Medina County, stated: “Partnering with the Medina County Park District has made a huge impact on the accessibility of healthy, free food for families and individuals in the southwestern portion of our county.” At the first distribution event at Hidden Hollow Camp in April 2021, 119 people were served. “Little did we know that by November 2022, we would serve 490 people. To date, a total of over 37,000 meals have been provided to participants in this food distribution.” FMC hosts its food distribution at Hidden Hollow Camp on the first Thursday of each month from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

The OPRA Awards of Excellence were judged by a panel of 36 parks and recreation professionals from around Ohio. OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward stated: “This was a highly-competitive process, and the winners have gone above and beyond in improving the quality of life in their communities.” In all, 12 agencies won first-place awards, and 24 different agencies were recognized.

The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on January 31, 2023 at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Sandusky in conjunction with the 2023 OPRA Conference & Trade Show.  For more information on OPRA, visit www.opraonline.org.

Feeding Medina County

Feeding Medina County’s mission is to educate, engage, and lead our community in creating an environment where no one goes hungry. The organization provides four community-wide food distributions each month in partnership with the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, as well as Weekender Bags for elementary aged children receiving free and reduced lunch in all public schools in our county, transport of food from the Foodbank to smaller food pantries, Staples for Seniors+ Program which brings food and produce to seniors and disabled adults in subsidized housing units throughout Medina County, and operates an Emergency Food Pantry out of its Medina warehouse.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
October 27, 2022

Sharon Nature Preserve Now Open in Sharon Township

Medina County Park District is pleased to announce the opening of Sharon Nature Preserve, a 134-acre property located at 6734 State Road in Sharon Township. The park district acquired the property in 2014 with a $500,000+ grant from the Clean Ohio Greenspace Conservation Program. The site officially opened with a ribbon cutting held on October 27, 2022 with park district staff, commissioners, and several members of the community in attendance.

High-quality wetlands dominate the nature preserve, however, a remnant of huge sugar maples resides on an upland knoll in the center of the property where visitors can hike a 0.4-mile nature trail. Open hayfields cover the remainder of the upland ground. Visitors can also hike a 0.6 mile (ADA accessible) gravel trail that loops through a wildflower meadow. The nature preserve is rich in natural resources, including a large swath of wet sedge meadow habitat that borders the Wolf Creek between Ridge and State roads. A pre-acquisition survey of the property found nearly 40 different varieties of trees and shrubs, a number of insects and amphibians, evidence of mammals—including deer, coyote, eastern cottontail, muskrat, raccoon, and groundhog—and several noteworthy species of birds: brown creeper, rusty blackbird, wood thrush, and yellow-bellied sapsucker.

There is a 20-car parking lot at the nature preserve. Biking is not permitted at this site. Leashed pets are permitted. Future phases of development at Sharon Nature Preserve include an additional gravel loop trail as well as stream and wetland restoration. Please note there are currently no restrooms at the site (they will be added in 2023).


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
October 25, 2022

New H2Ohio Wetland Project Coming to Medina County

 LODI, Ohio – As part of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Medina County Park District (MCPD) are announcing their third collaborative wetland project.  The 173-acre land acquisition made through an H2Ohio grant will be the site of the new Little Killbuck Creek Wetlands project.
 
“This is the latest example of how the H2Ohio initiative continues to expand and grow to serve the people of Ohio,” Gov. DeWine said. “All the work we’ve done and continue to do is to ensure that future generations have a clean, reliable water supply.”
 
At least 55 acres of wetland will be restored at the Little Killbuck Creek Wetlands site.  The project will provide tremendous nutrient reduction and water quality improvements and would enable the closure of a major point of weakness between the Mississippi Rivers Basin and the Great Lakes.
 
“We are really excited to add to the growing list of H2Ohio wetlands and share the benefits of these projects with everyone in Ohio,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “Each new project strengthens our efforts to ensure that communities in Ohio have safe, clean water.”

Nearly 70 percent of the property is located within the FEMA 100-year floodplain, an area that currently connects the Lake Erie Basin to the Ohio River Basin and poses a risk for the movement of aquatic invasive species. MCPD will work with the ODNR Division of Wildlife to build an interceptor berm that will help prevent the passage of invasive carp species from entering the Great Lakes Basin through the flood zone of Little Killbuck Creek.
 
The area also has a diverse wildlife population.  Seventy-four species of birds including the state endangered Northern Harrier and the state threatened Trumpeter Swan have been documented in nearby fields.

“We’re actively preserving what people love about Medina County,” director of Medina County Park District Nathan D. Eppink said. “The H2Ohio program has been a big part of our recent success, and we’re excited to bring this new property into the park district.”
 
MCPD received a $900,000 H2Ohio grant to purchase the latest property.  The park district previously received a $1.52 million H2Ohio grant to restore three areas near Chippewa Lake, including the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park and a $900,000 H2Ohio grant to restore 145 acres in Litchfield Township. 
 
Governor DeWine created H2Ohio in 2019 as a comprehensive, data-driven approach to combatting algal blooms, enhancing water quality, and improving water infrastructure over the long term. H2Ohio was launched with support from the Ohio General Assembly, which invested in the program in Ohio’s two most recent operating budgets. H2Ohio operates in partnership between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. The initiative focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring and enhancing wetlands, upgrading outdated water infrastructure, and replacing lead pipes. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, please visit h2.ohio.gov.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
October 20, 2022

New Observation Platform Built by Boy Scout Troup 459 with Funding from Lodi Rotary

platformEagle Scout candidate Zachary Workinger recently led Boy Scout Troop 459 in the construction of an observation platform at Black River Nature Preserve—Bluebell Valley as part of his Eagle Scout service project.  Funding for the construction materials was provided by the final donation from the now-dissolved Lodi Rotary as part of its nearly 100 years of community service. The observation platform, located near the mid-point of the nature trail, provides a spectacular view of the river valley and the Virginia bluebells that bloom here each spring.

Black River Nature Preserve—Bluebell Valley is located at 8500 Richman Road in Lodi/Harrisville Township. Bluebell Valley is a quiet, remote area in which to enjoy nature. Visitors can expect to experience beautiful views of grasslands and woodlands, interesting walking trails, and lush habitat for butterflies and migrating birds. This area was part of a wetland mitigation and stream restoration project in 2002 that restored 8,000 linear feet of the Black River.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
August 23, 2022

Largest Gift of Land in Park District’s History Donated by Westfield Resident

Medina County Park District (MCPD) is pleased to announce the largest gift of property in its 57-year history: 203 acres located in Westfield Center and Westfield Township. It was recently donated by Diane (Dedee) O'Neil. The property includes rich natural resources such as native wildflower meadows, beautiful woods, and a fishing pond. The preservation of this property is ecologically significant because it protects a portion of Camel Creek and a variety of flora and fauna.

Per the pledge agreement, MCPD will begin developing public access to the property no later than summer 2024. The district will be working with O’Neil to finalize a concept plan in the coming months.

O’Neil has appreciated the area since she and her late husband, Rory, who passed away in 2020, first moved there in the 1960s. “With a succession of Labradors who have insisted on daily walks, I’ve explored the fields and woods for years, always finding something that brightens my day—the first wildflowers in the spring, the sounds of the spring peepers, butterflies and bees on the flowers, the brilliant colors of the leaves in autumn, and the glittering crystals of ice on the trees after a winter storm,” O’Neil said. “With this gift of land to Medina County Park District, the woods and fields will be preserved for others to explore, and I hope they will find a favorite spot, something to brighten their days.”

With her donation, O’Neil has earned the right to name the property, according to MCPD Director Nathan Eppink. She chose Rivendell Nature Preserve. The name “Rivendell” is from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. In the books, Rivendell is a place of peace and safety, where guests are always welcome.

“In the years that we have owned the land,” O’Neil said, “we’ve welcomed scout troops, the third-graders from Westfield Elementary School for annual field trips, and many others. Now, with the park ownership, Rivendell Nature Preserve will soon be open to all.”

Throughout its history, MCPD has benefited from individuals who have generously supported the park district to make it what it is today. If you are interested in learning more about contributing to preservation and park district projects, please contact MCPD Development Coordinator Natalie Peacock at (330) 722-9364.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
August 2, 2022

Park District’s First Park Grows by 15 Acres

Opened in 1972 as Medina County Park District's (MCPD) first park, Green Leaf Park is a microcosm of what the park district is all about – nature, recreation, reclamation, preservation, and the protection of woods and wetlands for the benefit of people and the ecosystem in which we live. In June, Green Leaf Park grew by 15 acres thanks to a $231,964.50 Clean Ohio grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission. This 15-acre acquisition helps protect the Wolf Creek, which flows east into Summit County, ultimately reaching Barberton reservoir, which provides drinking water to the city of nearly 25,000 residents.

The park district had been working with the landowners for several years to preserve this property. In addition to protecting the Wolf Creek, the natural features and wildlife of these 15 acres are outstanding. Staff from the natural resources department documented numerous spring wildflowers and neotropical songbirds here. A total of 144 native species of plants, animals, and fungi were recorded over three different site visits prior to the acquisition. Large trees on the property, such as American beech, American basswood, sugar maple, and various oaks, provide food and refuge for many animals. Some of the trees there are as large as three feet in diameter.

Director Nathan Eppink commented, “I'm especially pleased with this acquisition. Its preservation benefits multiple counties and communities, and like so many of our successes, this one crossed the finish line because of the people involved including patient sellers and dedicated park district staff.” The application for the Clean Ohio grant included support letters from the Medina County Soil & Water Conservation District, the city of Barberton, ODNR Division of Wildlife, Summit Metro Parks, and park partner West Creek Conservancy.

Sharon Township Trustee Kim Miller said, “The Township is excited for the growth of the Medina County parks. Now more than ever, families are wanting more open space and parks. The township is grateful for this property the district has worked so hard to acquire.”

Green Leaf Park is located at 1674 S. Medina Line Road in Sharon Township. The park includes a .85–mile nature trail, 1-acre pond, 80-person capacity open-air shelter, sledding hill, and a youth football/soccer field. The Hard family log cabin (circa 1817) is also located at the park. It is one of the oldest remaining dwellings in Medina County. This pioneer family home was moved to Green Leaf Park by the Sharon Historical Society. Medina County Herb Society maintains an herb garden near the log home for park visitors to enjoy. Looking out over Green Leaf Park’s diverse amenities, lush green space and mature trees, you’d never guess this property served as the Sharon Gravel Pit in its former life. From the early twentieth century to 1971, untold tons of gravel and sand deposited by retreating glaciers were excavated from the site.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
May 25, 2022

Holmesbrook Park Now Operated by Medina County Park District

Earlier this month, Medina County Park District (MCPD) signed a 50-year lease agreement with the city of Wadsworth to operate Holmesbrook Park as a county park. Holmesbrook Park is located on College Street near the intersection of College and Leatherman roads. Although Friedt Park is in close proximity to Holmesbrook Park on Leatherman Road, it is not included in the lease agreement.

MCPD will be responsible for daily management and capital improvements at Holmesbrook. The 58.3-acre site is the largest park in Wadsworth and includes a pond, streams, and nature trails. Director Nate Eppink said, “It's a win-win. Medina County Park District now has a presence in the city limits, and Wadsworth can invest more of its resources in other parks and amenities. It's been a goal of mine to establish a presence in the city of Wadsworth, and our board has supported that effort.” MCPD has similar lease agreements with Brunswick and Medina to manage Brunswick Lake and Lake Medina, respectively, as county parks.

MCPD staff will develop a master plan for Holmesbrook Park by year's end -- to include planned improvements and possible additions based on terrain, accessibility, and other factors consistent with the park district’s mission and industry best-practices. The park district looks forward to directly serving the residents of Wadsworth via this mutually-beneficial agreement.

Mayor Robin Laubaugh commented, "We are thrilled that the Medina County Park District will now have a presence in Wadsworth. Holmesbrook Park is a bit of a hidden gem, and we are excited for the improvements that will take place over the years to enhance this area into an even greater asset to the community.”


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
May 19, 2022

Park District, Nonprofit Selected to Manage Historic ‘Farm in the City’

Aerial View of Rt18 farmFor a number of years, sheep could be seen grazing on a nearly 17-acre sanctuary in the midst of a heavily-developed commercial area along Route 18, next door to Medina Hospital and just outside the Medina city limits. Last fall, when the estate hosted an auction on the property, speculation swirled about the future of 4092 Medina Rd. Would it be developed? Would the buildings be razed?

Medina County Park District and its nonprofit partner, Friends of Medina County Parks, Inc., are pleased to announce they will soon be the stewards of the well-known but, perhaps, misunderstood ‘farm in the city.’

This unique property, which consists of three houses—most notable of which is a Victorian-era home—plus several outbuildings, was owned by Mr. Edson J. Brown and Mr. Ross M. Trump, both prominent antique dealers. It was Brown and Trump’s wishes that their Medina Township property be preserved as a working farm for cultural, educational, and aesthetic purposes; as a green gateway to the city of Medina and a way to balance encroaching commercial development; as a museum and historical site; and as a community space that inspires future generations.

Elizabeth M. Bux, attorney for the estate, commented, “We are delighted to be working with the Medina County Park District and Friends of Medina County Parks, Inc. on this project.  Mr. Brown and Mr. Trump would be very pleased with the plans for their beloved farm and with the enormous benefit that it will provide to the community.”

Upon Brown and Trump’s passing, a committee was appointed by the estate to select an organization that could formulate a vision for the property and make it a reality. Friends of Medina County Parks, Inc. (Friends) and Medina County Park District (MCPD) submitted a proposal in February. Upon reviewing a handful of proposals submitted by other pre-selected applicants, the committee chose Friends to hold the title to the property and manage estate-provided funds for its long-term care, with MCPD acting as the property manager. Much of the grounds are protected by a conservation easement held by Western Reserve Land Conservancy. MCPD was the natural choice to manage the land, permit public access, and offer activities and experiences consistent with local history.

The property is located along a busy state route in an area of great interest to MCPD. Opportunities to protect land and form pedestrian/greenway connections in the eastern part of the county will become increasingly challenging in the coming years as our community remains one of the fastest-growing areas in Ohio. Not far from the property is Lake Medina, where MCPD has a number of exciting capital projects planned—from improving fishing and kayaking access to establishing a third entrance with an accessible-to-all trail and more. In addition, 20 years ago, Ted and Willette Chandler donated 100 acres to the park district off East Smith Road. The Chandlers’ donation agreement prohibits development on the property for 75 years—with one exception: construction of a bike trail. MCPD was recently awarded a $500,000 Clean Ohio Fund trail grant that will enable the district to build the “Lake Medina Greenway” from Smith Road to Lake Medina via an easement with Summa Hospital. This property will become part of a greater network of public spaces managed by MCPD.

MCPD will update its master plan for Lake Medina this year to include all of these new opportunities, including the farm property. That site will not be a typical park/nature center that is open daily to the general public. Entry would be by invitation only for special events, programs, meetings, workshops, and tours. Friends and MCPD are developing partnership agreements with a number of local non-profit organizations to discuss uses of the buildings as well as the grounds. The Medina County Historical Society, Feeding Medina County, the Medina County ADAMH Board, Hope Recovery Community, and Cathy’s House are among them. Through this unique gathering of partners befitting this unique opportunity, Brown and Trump’s wishes and vision for the property can be achieved.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
May 16, 2022

Chippewa Lake Master Plan Finalized

In 2021, Medina County Park District (MCPD) engaged OHM Advisors to help develop a master plan for the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park which was purchased in June 2020. The site is located on the shores of Chippewa Lake, Ohio’s largest inland glacial lake. With public input acquired through meetings and surveys, OHM and MCPD designed a master plan to transform the site into a future public nature area. Both short and long-term improvement projects are included in the master plan. The Chippewa Lake Master Plan is located on the park district’s website at www.medinacountyparks.com. Click on the “Parks” tab, then select “Chippewa Lake Master Plan,” the last option in the menu.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
April 12, 2022

Expansion of Lake Medina Greenway Trail Made Possible by Clean Ohio Trail Fund

Lake Medina is a hidden oasis nestled between Route 18 to the south and Granger Road to the north, just west of Interstate 71. With the completion of the Granger Road parking lot and trail improvements at this site in 2020, attention has now turned to the next phase of trail connectivity to this very popular park.

In 2018, the park district was awarded $150,000 through the state capital budget to assist with construction of a trail that will extend from the State Route 18 entrance of Lake Medina, south toward a proposed trailhead at the future Chandler Nature Preserve located on E. Smith Road. Due to the length and complexity of the proposed trail, the park district decided to seek additional funding and submitted an application to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Clean Ohio Trail Fund in April of 2021. The park district is pleased to announce that it was awarded the maximum grant amount of $500,000 for the Lake Medina Greenway extension. Construction of the approximately one-mile greenway trail extension will, likely, occur in late 2023 or early 2024.

The Clean Ohio Trail Fund, administered by ODNR, is one of three components of the Clean Ohio Fund, which restores, protects, and connects Ohio’s natural and urban places. To date, the program has awarded nearly $106 million to provide Ohioans with better access to recreational opportunities through the creation of nearly 500 miles of trails and the acquisition of 128 miles of abandoned railroad and greenway corridors. “Ohioans loves to get outside and take in the natural beauty this great state has to offer,” Governor Mike DeWine said. “I’m excited for families and friends to have even more opportunities to see Ohio through every season.” To learn more about Ohio’s trails, please visit trails.ohiodnr.gov.

“The city of Medina is very grateful and appreciative of the efforts of the Medina County Park District to obtain a $500,000 Clean Ohio Trail grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the expansion of our existing collaborative trails. These trails support our Healthy Medina initiatives by encouraging walking, running, and bicycling to benefit the health of city and county residents,” said Mayor Dennis Hanwell.

The project required the acquisition of a trail easement across the Summa Health Medina Medical Center. “We’re proud to partner with the Medina County Park District on the Lake Medina Greenway extension. This project represents a significant investment in our community and underscores our commitment to the health and well-being of the people we serve. We look forward to the completion of the project and congratulate everyone at the park district for achieving this important milestone,” said Luke Smith, director of ambulatory services and property management at Summa Health Medina Medical Center.

Lake Medina served as Medina’s municipal water source from the early 1960s until 2002, when the 197-acre site was leased to the park district. The park features a 1.1-mile gravel trail along the lake and a 1.4-mile paved trail that follows the West Branch of the Rocky River and connects to the city of Medina’s multipurpose trail along Reagan Parkway. Located on Ohio’s Buckeye Trail, Lake Medina is popular for hiking, fishing, biking, kayaking, and cross-country skiing.


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
January 25, 2022

Medina County Park District Preserves Land in the Black River Watershed

In early January, Medina County Park District (MCPD) purchased 35.1 acres on Avon Lake Road (SR 83) in Lodi. The purchase was made possible with a $232,850 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission’s Clean Ohio Fund. Less than $30,000 was paid locally by the park district.


The property will allow MCPD to, one day, provide public access to a 104-acre parcel that MCPD
acquired in 2001. Together, the newly acquired 35.1- and existing 104-acre parcels will be considered part of Black River Nature Preserve, which includes the Bluebell Valley and Hidden Hollow Camp areas on Richman Road in Lodi. "This acquisition was two years in the making but well worth it," said Nathan Eppink, director of the park district. "The land makes expansion of Black River Nature Preserve possible and additional recreational opportunities available in the future."


There are several significant environmental benefits of preserving this ecologically-rich land. An
assessment by MCPD's natural resources staff identified numerous aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish species indicative of good habitat in the stream along the western boundary of the new property, a stretch of the East Fork of the East Branch of the Black River. The property also includes more than 20 acres of woods that rise some 64 feet above the water. The mature, forested riparian corridor supports migrating birds that visit the area in the spring and fall.

There is no timeline for development of the new property, but a concept plan was included in MCPD's Clean Ohio Fund grant application. "Lodi is an area we're very excited about," Eppink said. "We've recently made changes at Hidden Hollow Camp to make it more accessible year-round, and Bluebell Valley will see improvements this year including a small picnic shelter and observation platform overlooking the river."


MCPD’s natural resource staff has already transformed seven acres of farm fields located at the back of the new property, seeding it with a mix of native grasses and wildflowers. In addition, to supplement the natural succession taking place, over 500 native tree seedlings were planted including oak and cherry.