The land is expected to cost about $750,000.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- The aging white farmhouse on Herbert Road looks out of place when compared to the upscale homes and subdivisions to the east.
Its structure seems to be in good condition, but it doesn't have a portico or picture windows like the upscale homes, and its front stairs are covered with grass and vines. Two red barns are slowly crumbling on the hillside in the back.
Township Trustees Bill Reese and Paul Moracco said it was one of the oldest dairy farms in the township.
"We'll have to restore that," Reese said of the farmhouse.
Reese and Moracco are working to have the township buy the farmhouse and the 65 acres that surround it on the north and south sides of Herbert Road to create the township's first park. Reese was expected to make a presentation about the project at this morning's Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber breakfast in Canfield.
"Many residents have expressed interest in having a park in our township," Reese said. Moracco has called the farmhouse property "beautiful land."
Behind the farmhouse and the barns is a hill that slopes into a wooded area, while to the west is a plowed farm field. The land on the north side of the road is a plowed field that slopes down into more trees. Sawmill Creek runs across the land.
Now is the time
Both Moracco and Reese added that township officials should buy land for a park now, before developers purchase all the open land in the area.
"If we don't act now to preserve open space land for a park, its going to be grabbed up," Reese said. Moracco added that buying the park might help slow some of the development in the township.
Reese said he wants the township to buy the land later this year or early next year.
Trustee Judy Bayus did not return calls for comment.
Trustees have talked to the Canfield Historical Society about working together on a project to renovate the farmhouse and the barn. The farmhouse could serve as a community building, much like the St. James Meeting House in Boardman Township Park, Reese said.
Reese and Moracco also discussed building walking trails around the 25 acres on the north side of the park and constructing a gazebo, lake and soccer fields on the 45 acres on the south side. Reese also said he also would like the township to construct a parking lot on the south side of Herbert Road that would have access to the Mill Creek MetroParks' bike trail to the east.
The MetroParks' Brocker Preserve also is located adjacent to the proposed park property on the north side of Herbert Road.
"That's a great area of Canfield to be doing it in," Carol Potter, the MetroParks' public relations and marketing director, said of the proposed park. Potter noted that the creation of the park should help increase the value of surrounding property.
The 25 acres on the north side of Herbert Road is expected to cost the township about $300,000, Reese said, while the farmhouse, barns, and 45 acres of land on the south side of the road are expected to cost $450,000.
Reese said the township hopes to get a loan to pay for the land. The loan would be repaid using a $212,000 Clean Ohio Program grant, as well as money paid to the township by developers.
Mahoning County subdivision regulations require developers to pay money into a township open space account before they can move ahead with their projects. The money can be used to buy land for parks.
The township has about $100,000 in its open space account, and Reese said he expects the account to grow quickly as development booms in the area.
Township officials are working with officials from Mill Creek MetroParks to apply for the Clean Ohio Program grant. Township officials won't know if they've been awarded the grant until next summer.