TOWNSHIP GOVERNMENT Trustees pave way for Canfield park

The trustee chairman says the township will try again for a $250,000 grant.



CANFIELD -- The township has authorized its attorney to work out an agreement with the owner of 57 acres on Herbert Road for the township to buy the property and turn it into a park.

Bill Reese, trustee chairman, said trustees took the action at a meeting last month. He and Trustee Paul Moracco supported it with Trustee Judy Bayus opposed.

The property is split by Herbert Road, with about 25 acres on the north side of the road and 32 acres on the south side.
Gerald Decamp owns the property.
The cost would be $850,000, and the township plans to seek a Clean Ohio program grant through Eastgate Regional Council of Governments for $250,000 to help foot the bill.
Reese said that the north side of the road, which abuts Mill Creek Park, will remain wetlands, with the possible addition of walkways. The south side could be used for playgrounds and ballfields. The south side also could be used to construct a bike path that will lead to the nearby Mill Creek MetroParks bike path.
A farmhouse, built around 1840, remains on the property and Reese says that would be restored and included in the park.
The idea for the park was first broached late last year. At that time, the land to be purchased was 65 acres and the cost was $750,000.
The township's Clean Ohio application also was rejected at that time because of incomplete information, Reese said.
The change in the size and the cost is part of the reason Bayus is opposed.
She said that the resolution asking Mark Finamore, township attorney, to draw up an agreement with Decamp's attorney wasn't on the meeting agenda the day it was proposed last month. She was unaware of the plan until the panel met that night in executive session.
"I really feel I was blind-sided by this," Bayus said.
She believes that something that involves that amount of money and will continue to cost residents money in the future should be taken to the ballot so voters can decide.
Bayus said trustees have never talked about how the property would be used such as the playground, ballfields and wetlands Reese suggested.
There's also been no discussion of how the park would be operated or maintained once it's purchased, Bayus said.
Reese said that the change in price and acreage is due to the owner selling eight acres to a nearby church and being able to get a higher per acreage price from the church than the price talked about last year for the township.

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