Partnership For Parks Protects Health Facility Property From Development (OH)

Sagamore Hills, OH, March 16, 2000 – Working in a unique partnership with federal, state, and local governments, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national land conservation organization, has preserved 374 acres of land in one of the most rapidly developing parts of Cleveland metro area. TPL purchased the property from the Ohio Department of Mental Health for $1.6 million and then divided it among Sagamore Hills Township (192 acres), Cleveland Metroparks (91 acres), and the National Park Service as part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area (91 acres).

“This is one of the largest single land purchases in northeast Ohio for park purposes in recent decades.” notes Christopher Knopf, Director of TPL’s Ohio Field Office. “Preserving this property will help combat sprawl in the urban fringe between Cleveland and Akron.”

The land had been part of the Ohio Department of Mental Health’s Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare System campus. In recent decades as the patient population at the facility has significantly decrease the State began selling property that was not needed for its operations. The property protected by this partnership includes former agricultural fields that had been farmed by the patients at the facility and wooded areas characterized by steep ravines. It is within the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area and adjacent to Cleveland Metroparks’ Bedford Reservation. The three land agencies plan few changes to the property; the land will be maintained as a natural area with diverse habitat for wildlife.

“This was prime land for development,” says Sagamore Hills Township Trustee Rose Mary Snell. “It could have been developed into at least 1000 homes.” Sagamore Hills Township has averaged nearly 200 housing starts each year since 1995, making it one of the leaders for new housing in northeast Ohio.

“We are delighted with the outcome of this partnership,” adds Michael F. Hogan, Ph.D., Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health. “The Department has been recognized for its innovative use of former hospital facilities, for purposes ranging from housing to the arts. This is our most significant re-use plan that focuses on environmental preservation.”

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, TPL 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 Recreation Area. Last year, TPL 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