Funds secured to save Grove Hill house in Chagrin

May 14, 2020

CHAGRIN FALLS – On Tuesday afternoon, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy announced with “confidence” that it had raised the $600,000 needed to purchase the historical Bancroft house and property at the top of North Main Street also known as Grove Hill.

In fact, the effort raised $3,400 more than needed, according to conservancy President Rich Cochran.

“We did it. This is an amazing example of how a community can come together to save an iconic place,” he said.

“I couldn’t be more impressed with the people of Chagrin. Even during a global pandemic, this community came together to save Grove Hill now and for future generations,” he said.

Chagrin Falls Mayor William Tomko congratulated the conservancy for taking the lead in fundraising. He also lauded the Save Grove Hill neighbors for their awareness effort and the entire village and friends who donated to the cause.

“This is an outstanding save for the heritage of our town” the mayor said.

Next steps are to find a restoration-minded buyer for the Bancroft house which sits at the top of the hill, officially split the acre lot and donate the lower portion to the village for the development of a new park, according to the plan.

The conservancy president said he was “deeply grateful to the many hundreds of donors who have given to the Save Grove Hill campaign. “This outpouring of support, which grew like a massive wave despite the chilling surge of a global pandemic, has been nothing short of miraculous.”

Mr. Cochran recalled how hopeless it seemed less than two months ago when the home appeared to be doomed. Property owner Robert Vitt announced he planned to build a five-building townhome development on the land.

The conservancy pursued the idea of purchasing the property with Mr. Vitt. The neighborhood activist group Save Grove Hill was all in and promised to help.

It took four or five rounds of negotiations but Mr. Cochran and Mr. Vitt came to a purchase agreement for the property, they said. The deal carried with it a May 9 deadline for securing funds.

This is not the first village “save” Mr. Cochran has worked on in Chagrin Falls. In the 1990s he and Mayor Tomko, then a councilman, worked on conservation efforts at a former private fish and game club at the end of High Street.

The property had been given to the village by owners of the then Ivex Mill, now Spillway and is now Whitesburg Nature Preserve.

Riverside Park in the center of downtown Chagrin Falls also was created in the midst of a crisis when, in the depths of the Depression, village council voted to turn the potentially financial piece of real estate into green space on the banks of the Chagrin River.

"Funds secured to save Grove Hill house in Chagrin". Chagrin Valley Times. Retrieved October 16, 2020.

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