July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Blue Heron overgrowth to be cleared away, public to be welcomed soon

A deer is spotted at the former Blue Heron Golf Course on Tuesday in Montville Township. (ALEC SMITH / GAZETTE)

A deer is spotted at the former Blue Heron Golf Course on Tuesday in Montville Township. (ALEC SMITH / GAZETTE)

Montville Township trustees hope to open a small portion of the former Blue Heron Golf Course as a public park within two weeks.

The board of trustees met Tuesday evening for the second time to discuss preliminary stages of a five-year financing and development plan for the proposed park.

The trustees agreed in May to enter into a five-year, lease-purchase agreement with Medina-based C&C of Ohio LLC to purchase the golf course for $500,000.

Trees have fallen onto the path at this unattended abandoned Blue Heron golf course. (ALEC SMITH)

Fallen trees block a path at the former Blue Heron golf course. (ALEC SMITH)

Trustees hope to begin cleaning up the 252-acre property within a week after the lease is finalized and the receive a permission letter from C&C.

Trustee Sally Albrecht said complete cleanup of the property “is going to take at least a year.”

But trustees plan to open a small section of the golf course near the halfway house to the public this month.

The township also will order about 20 signs that will read “this area closed” to section off areas that are unsafe for the public.

“Safety of the areas open to the public should be a priority,” township roads superintendent Dennis Clapper said.

Broken concrete paths where golf carts once roamed, overgrown fairways, dead trees, debris and litter all need to be cleared to bring the golf course, which has been closed for nearly three years, up to par for a park.

Montville Police Chief Terry Grice said he plans to inquire with the Medina County Juvenile Court to possibly recruit youths to help clean up some of the debris and trash.

Chris Kosman, the township’s assistant roads superintendent, said the grass bordering the concrete pathways needs to be the focus of mowing in the first few weeks.

Trustees also discussed ways of financing the purchase of the property. The terms of the lease call for the township to pay $1 a year plus property taxes while it searches for financing.

The township agreed to pay $132,000 for four of the 20 parcels this summer, with the rest of the $500,000 purchase price within five years.

Montville’s bid for a $400,000 grant from the Clean Ohio Fund’s Green Space Conservation Program was rejected in June. Trustees said they plan to reapply this fall.

Albrecht said she spoke with University of Akron officials who are interested in having a graduate class survey the park for plant habitats or wildlife that maintenance crews will need to watch for during the cleanup.

Albrecht said collaborating with the school will help distinguish between undisturbed areas for wildlife and recreational areas and will better the township’s chances of securing the grant.

Zoning Officer Paul Jeffers, who has been in charge of the grant-writing process, said the deadline for the grant has not yet been announced but it should be in September. He said Montville should know by Thanksgiving whether it has secured the money.

The board plans to meet every two weeks to continue planning.

Contact reporter Katie Anderson at (330) 721-4012 or kanderson@medina-gazette.com.

Katie Anderson About Katie Anderson

Katie Anderson covers Medina County government and the city of Wadsworth. She has been with The Gazette since July 2014. Contact her at (330) 721-4012 or via email at kanderson@medina-gazette.com.