Officials seek input to expand preserve

The board will ask trustees about building a pavilion at the nature preserve.
NORTH LIMA -- Beaver Township Park Board is looking for public input on a proposal to expand the borders of the township's nature preserve area off state Route 165.
Scott Conway, park board chairman, said board members have met with the owner of the property adjacent to the nature preserve area to inquire about his plans for the land.
Conway said the township is looking into buying the 35-acre parcel, the former Wildwood Lake recreation area, and using it to enlarge the nature preserve site.
"But everything is very preliminary right now," Conway said. "We're just talking a little bit right now to get a feel for what that property owner's intentions are. We're not purchasing the land now, but we are looking into whether that might be an option sometime."
Looking for funding
Conway said the township would need to secure funding before a purchase proposal could be presented to the property owner. Township officials declined to provide the property owner's name.
"We're continuing to look for grants and resources that might be available," Conway said. "Funding from the state is pretty tight right now. But it's something to think about."
The township bought its 80 acres off state Route 165, just west of New Buffalo Road and east of the former Wildwood Lake recreation area, with a $150,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Public Works Clean Ohio Conservation Fund two years ago. Ohio Edison Co. had owned the property.
Meanwhile, Conway said the park board intends to ask the township trustees to consider allowing the construction of a storage garage and an open-air pavilion at the nature preserve area.
He said if the trustees vote for those projects, construction would begin this spring. The projects would be paid for through the township's general fund.
"We really want to keep our residents informed of what's happening there and what we're thinking about," Conway said. "We'd like to hear what they have to say."
Conway said the park board continues to look for volunteers to join the Friends of the Park effort.
"We need people willing to help out at the nature preserve as well as at the township parks," he said. "We would appreciate whatever help people can give."
For more information about Friends of the Park and to offer volunteer services, or to voice your comments or concerns about the nature preserve, call the park board hot line at (330) 549-9552.

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