98 Acres of Headwaters Land Protected (OH)

Burton Township, OH1/27/03 – Burton Township, the City of Akron, and the Trust for Public Land announce today the preservation of 98 acres in the heart of rural Geauga County. The property will become a park for local residents connecting two of the township’s most notable historical features – – a Revolutionary War cemetery and Veterans’ Memorial Park. Preservation of this site helps to maintain the history and rural landscape of Geauga County, protects a highly productive groundwater system, and protects wildlife habitat for a diversity of bird species, including the Ohio State Endangered Sedge Wren.

Amid rapidly growing developments in Geauga County, conservation of this property exemplifies Burton Township’s commitment to preserving the pastoral culture of this community. Township Trustee Lou Mucci said, “It is important to the township and its residents to hold on to our rural heritage and this property helps us to accomplish that. Connecting the Revolutionary War cemetery and Veterans’ Memorial Park with this site gives us a special place to remember our history. Families can look forward to viewing wildlife and appreciating the natural beauty of the park.”

Today the Trust for Public Land will purchase the property and transfer it to the ownership of Burton Township and the City of Akron. Burton Township will manage and preserve the park.

“Geauga County is the headwaters of three prominent river systems in northeast Ohio – the Cuyahoga, Grand, and Chagrin Rivers,” said Wolfe Tone, project manager for the Trust for Public Land “Responsible stewardship of this property in Burton is critical to the protection of the source waters of the Cuyahoga River, the primary drinking water supply for hundreds of thousands of people including the residents of the City of Akron.”

City of Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic commends the collaboration involved in the effort. “The City of Akron and Geauga County have been long-time partners in ensuring the water quality of the Burton headwaters area. Our collaboration with the Trust for Public Land made the preservation of this property a reality that none of us could have accomplished alone. It helps protect the water quality for everyone who depends on the Cuyahoga River.”

“The Trust for Public Land brings unique expertise and leadership to the collaboration but it is really a local decision made by local people,” Tone added.

The Trust for Public Land’s purchase from Maria, Ltd. was made possible by a grant from Governor Taft’s Clean Ohio Fund, as well as support from Burton Township and the City of Akron. The highly competitive Clean Ohio Fund provides $400 million over a period of four years through state agencies for preservation of natural areas and farmland, protection of streams, creation of outdoor recreational opportunities and revitalization of urban areas. Tone adds, “The program helps communities preserve natural resources and protect special places.”

State Representative Tim Grendell was a key supporter of the effort “This is a huge conservation success for the people of Geauga County,” he notes, “It is an excellent example of how the Clean Ohio Fund enhances the quality of life for local communities.”

The Trust for Public Land is a nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to improve the quality of life in our communities and to protect our natural and historic resources for future generations. Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 1.4 million acres across the nation. The Trust of Public Land has been serving Ohioans for more than 25 years and is most widely known for its role in the demolition of the Richfield Coliseum and the transfer of the property to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Ohio Office of the Trust for Public Land is proudly supported by The Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation and many private foundations and donors. For more information about the Clean Ohio Fund visit www.state.oh.us/cleanohiofund.

Additional Quotes

The Burton Township Trustees had a “small window” of opportunity to save this 98-acre unspoiled piece of land, and its location adjacent to the Burton Township Forest makes it even more important to preserve. When you are walking out of a towering forest of trees you are greeted by a picturesque pond and meadow. This truly is a treasure to preserve for out-door education and recreation, for the present and for generations to come.
– Dan Whiting, Burton Township Trustee

All of this was accomplished by the cooperative efforts of the Trust For Public Land, Burton Township, The State of Ohio, and the City of Akron.
– Jay Szorady, Burton Township Trustee