Spring Hill Farm Conservation Protects Aurora Wetlands

June 2, 2011
Aurora, Ohio

The anticipated conservation of the 153-acre Spring Hill Farm has been completed, and the City of Aurora will manage it as a city-owned recreational area and Nature Preserve adjoining the Aurora Audubon State Nature Preserve, The Trust for Public Land, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, the Ohio EPA, and the City of Aurora announced today.

The Portage County property on East Pioneer Trail was the original homestead of Aurora's first settler, Ebenezer Sheldon, and adjoins the 165-acre Aurora sanctuary and the 100-acre Chagrin Headwaters reserve. Also nearby are the Novak Sanctuary and Sunny Lake Park. Spring Hill Farm has high quality wetlands habitat critical to several threatened and endangered species. A priority for the City of Aurora, the City Council approved $297,784 from the Aurora Conservation Fund to supply the City's portion of the $2.9 million purchase price.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, purchased the property, and worked with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to secure $2.114 million in Ohio EPA funding for the purchase from the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program. The remaining funding included $488,216 from the Clean Ohio Fund, and $297,784 from the City of Aurora.

"Spring Hill Farm is a critical watershed project and will make a great natural area destination," said Bill Carroll, TPL's Ohio state director. "We are grateful to the Regional Sewer District for sponsoring this project, which will help the City of Aurora preserve wetlands to protect its water."

"An outstanding beautiful property with an excellent eight acre lake, and the property provides superior filtration for the headlands of the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River," said Aurora Mayor Lynn McGill. "A marvelous acquisition and legacy for the present residents of Aurora and future generations. A great example of the City Administration and Council working in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, Clean Ohio Fund, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, OEPA, and WRRSP Fund. We are indebted to Mr. David Vasarhelyi, TPL Project Manager, for his superb leadership on this project."

"Preserving these wetlands will help minimize future sewer infrastructure costs and retain storm water, while increasing public access to a Portage County natural treasure," added Carroll.

Since it was founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land has helped protect 3 million acres of land in 47 states. In Ohio, TPL has protected more than 12,200 acres valued at more than $126 million. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its mission to preserve land for people.