July 1, 2016

Intermittent clouds

On the hunt for a trail

Cassandra Shofar | The Gazette

MEDINA — Tim Swanson hopes to one day stroll down a walking path in Nichols Park and have the experience be educational as well.

Swanson, the city’s parks director, recently submitted a request to City Council’s Finance Committee for a price proposal to cover preliminary planning and design for a walking or multipurpose trail on two city-owned properties referred to as Nichols Park, which is west of Guilford Boulevard and south of the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway.

Medina Parks Director Tim Swanson takes a stroll in Nichols Park, where he hopes the city will someday build a walking loop. Swanson is currently researching the possible costs for the plans. (Shirley Ware | Staff Photographer)

“What we’re going to do is find out where the path is going to go, how long it will be … we’re thinking about a mile or a little shorter,” Swanson said. “It’ll be a loop. There are three properties that we own there. It’ll start on the west side of Guilford and then the loop will continue west, come down south and then end up close to Guilford again. It’ll go through two park properties.” Park properties in the area besides Nichols are Sam Masi and Roscoe Ewing.

The ultimate goal for the path, Swanson said, is to “create an educational journey of trees and habitat for wildlife.”

He added: “We’re not sure if this is going to fly, but we want to name the path the ‘Harold Thoburn Memorial Trail.’ He was the city’s tree man for many, many years. He was the tree guru before me.”

Swanson said he wants to develop the forestation plan with the cooperation of Medina City Schools and community volunteers to provide an educational tour the schools and public can use.

One idea he mentioned involved Medina City Schools’ annual Arbor Day project for third-graders. They could create learning stations throughout the path for students to visit and study.

“It will take many years to fully populate the park with trees, however, as plans come to light where the trail is going to be and how big, then we can proceed with populating it with the trees,” Swanson said.

The trail’s price tag could squash the dream, he said, which is why he wants to find out how much it will cost first and whether it would be asphalt or gravel, which makes a difference in price.

“We’re really trying to do this without city dollars, so we’re thinking about approaching foundations to help with the financing,” Swanson said. He also wants to see what kinds of federal grants the city could apply for.

“The importance of this cost proposal is to see if this dream could become a reality for the community,” he said.