ELYRIA TWP. — Two trails that encircle a 12-acre pond and travel through a thick patch of forest have been constructed at the Rowland Nature Preserve to give visitors an opportunity to leisurely stroll through the park.
The pathways are the first of many scheduled improvements to the property that was donated to Elyria Township by businessman Billy Rowland in 2009. Rowland donated 58 acres with the stipulation that the land be used as a park.
Township Trustee Rob Scheithauer said the trails are perfect for those who want to see wildlife and animals in a natural, passive setting.
“We must have about 20 deer kicking around out there,” he said. “We have baby ducks floating around out there with their mamas. People are out there fishing. It’s a beautiful place, and I would say 90 percent of the paths are always in the shade because they under trees.”
The park is coming along with federal and state grants paying for most of the improvements.
The two limestone-based walking, jogging, fitness and nature trails were completed with a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The total cost of the project is $165,160 with the township’s sharing amounting to $33,032.
The first trail is 5,340 feet long and 10 feet wide and encircles the lake. The second trail is 4,140 feet long and 8 feet wide. It goes into a more wooded area.
“That is the path that comes with a warning,” Scheithauer said with a bit of a laugh. “There is poison ivy out there, and we don’t want residents coming to the park and it coming back to bite them later.”
The next phase of work to be completed is a paved entryway to the nature preserve’s parking lot and a stone walkway to the lake on the property. A Land and Water Conservation Fund grant will fund the construction. The total cost of the project is $124,690, with the grant paying for half, or $62,345.
An observation deck on the south side of the lake also will be constructed. On Aug. 6, trustees will open bids for the construction of the deck, Scheithauer said.
“We are going to be working on a grant for a pavilion, but it’s not approved yet,” he said. “The grants have been great because they have allowed us to really turn the area into something everyone in Lorain County can enjoy.”
A final component to the park is still in the fundraising phase. A 9/11 memorial will incorporate a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, and its design has been approved.
Community leaders are working to raise the roughly $30,000 needed to erect the monument.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.