“Overwhelmingly, community members stressed the importance of preserving natural areas, improving trails and access, and growing educational opportunities,” she said. “The grant-funded purchase will allow the park district to preserve, in perpetuity, the green space as quality habitat and maintain and improve hiking trails that tie to both the existing Grant Park trail network, as well as surrounding neighborhoods and schools.
“Besides ready access to recreational and educational opportunities by nearby neighborhoods and schools, the quality attributes of that green space will enrich year-round programming offered by the park district, as well,” Marks said.
Acquisition of the property also will provide protection of significant biological communities specific to the Hole’s Creek corridor, she said.
Through the grant submission process, the Park District was given additional funds to address clean up and safety along the trails, including invasive species removal, dead tree removal, access improvements and other upgrades, she said. Funds for site improvements are an estimate based on similar past project costs, Marks said.
However, CWPD may or may not spend all of what it estimated for site improvements, Marks said.
CWPD said it expects to officially close the sale on the land later this fall. The transaction would make Grant Park the largest park in the district shared by Centerville and Washington Twp., surpassing the 194-acre Bill Yeck Park, officials have said.
The land that is being purchased by the park district is steep, hillside acreage on the backside of both schools, Centerville school district officials recently said. The district would not be able to build anything on that land, but it can be used for trails and other park-associated features.
The sale of the land is “a win” for the community and an example of the partnership the school district has with CWPD, according to Centerville City Schools Superintendent Jon Wesney.
This report contains information from Staff Writer Nick Blizzard.