Key Watershed Property Protected in Mahoning County (OH)

Cleveland, OH – Today, the Trust for Public Land, a leading national land conservation organization, saved a key watershed property in northeast Ohio from being developed into a golf course. This 155-acre wooded property in Mahoning County includes Sawmill Creek, a major tributary to Meander Reservoir, which is the source of drinking water to over 400,000 people. The Sawmill Creek property also includes over 500 feet of frontage along the Mahoning Bike Trail that will eventually extend 100 miles from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.

The Trust for Public Land acted immediately when it became aware that the Sawmill Creek property was about to be developed into a golf course. The Trust for Public Land purchased the Sawmill Creek property after securing a loan from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency through a program designed to protect and improve water quality.

“This beautiful section of Mahoning County is under tremendous development pressure,” says Sarah Fathauer, a Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land. “The loan from Ohio EPA made it possible for us to protect one of northeast Ohio’s most important sources of drinking water. We are grateful for the cooperation and assistance from Ohio EPA.”

“This relatively undisturbed, high quality stream corridor complex provides an important local water resource in Mahoning County,” notes Bob Monsarratt, a manager in the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance at Ohio EPA. “As such, our financing of this acquisition will make an important contribution to protecting water quality in the Meander Creek Reservoir watersheds. If this purchase had not taken place, the land likely would have been converted to a golf course, with the loss of Sawmill Creek as a water resource.”

The Trust for Public Land has also entered into a lease-purchase agreement with Mill Creek Metroparks, which serves Mahoning County. Under the agreement, the Trust for Public Land will lease the Sawmill Creek property to Mill Creek Metroparks for five years during which time the park district will buy the property from the Trust for Public Land.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. Nationwide, the Trust for Public Land has helped conserve more than a million acres valued at nearly $2 billion and gained widespread public attention last year by demolishing the Richfield Coliseum and transferring the property to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (formerly designated as a National Recreation Area). Last year, the Trust for Public Land launched its “Greenprint for Growth” campaign to help sprawl-threatened communities protect land and as a way to guide development and sustain a healthy economy and a high quality of life. For more information, please visit the website at