Grove Hill Park panel begins plans for public green space
Mar 11, 2020
CHAGRIN FALLS — The new Grove Hill Park Commission, organized to plan the development of the 1-acre green space located at the northwest corner of West Cottage Street and North Main, held its first meeting on March 4 to begin the process of recommending improvements.
The commission includes residents Nancy Rogoff, a council member and Chantel Michalek, neighbor of the property along with Mayor William Tomko; Richard Cochran, president and CEO of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Alex Czayka, senior vice president for conservation transactions.
The conservancy, a key player in securing the Bancroft property a year ago, gifted the park to the village after having worked with neighbors to save the Bancroft historic home at the opposite end of the property, from a proposed condominium development and possible demolition of the home.
Once secured, the Bancroft property was subdivided to create a residential lot on which the historic home sits and separate site for the new park.
A decorative black iron fence, estimated at $8,000, will be installed by the village and serve to separate the park from the Bancroft property, which has been sold and will become a private residence.
The group discussed coning designation of the new park and, because of its location in a residential area, will likely be designated a “conservation area,” meaning there will be no recreational uses.
Benches, a small patio and walking trail with an ADA accessible entrance are being considered. The area will be divested of dead trees, noxious weeds and invasive plants and new vegetation and perennial and native flowers planted.
Mayor Tomko presented a sample plan for the park which had been designed by Craig Cawrse Landscape Architects of Chagrin Falls.
“This is just a starting point,” he said, adding the first step will be to remove noxious and invasive plants and add “low-maintenance and four-season (vegetation) interest.”
A retaining wall was shown in the drawing with a small flat patio and rock retaining wall cut into the hill was pictured and suggested as a way to stabilize the steep slope on the North Main Street side.
The mayor pointed out that because of its downhill position and recessed nature, the patio would make it invisible from the Bancroft property.
Access to the new park will be via the existing stone steps at the downhill corner of the lot. It is now handicap accessible, but an ADA entrance will be considered for the opposite end of the park, off Cottage Street. Neighbors will be surveyed for their thoughts.
While no definite features for the new park have been recommended, Mr. Cochran asked a plaque recognizing major park purchase donors be recognized and that the land conservancy be credited for its role in securing the Bancroft property and gifting the park to the village.
Village parks commission and council members will review the recommendations once the Grove Hill commission has completed its work.
A budget for the development of the 1-acre park will be contained in the 2022 village budget.
The next meeting of the Grove Hill Park Commission will be held in late April at the park location.
As a point of interest, Mayor Tomko noted that the Chagrin Falls Historical Society has informed him there is a time capsule buried behind the WPA wall when it was completed in 1938. He suggested another be planted in the new park when it finally opens to the public.
The Historical Society has completed a documentary film on Grove Hill and the effort to save the Bancroft home. Its premiere has not been announced.
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