The Conservation Fund bought the Lyndhurst, Ohio property for $14.75 million and donated the 155-acre course to the park system. Deed restrictions ensure the property will remain a green space in perpetuity, so development possibilities include popular all-purpose trails, bird watching, bike riding and aquatic elements not limited to fishing.
The Cleveland Metroparks commissioners voted to take over Acacia Country Club in Lyndhurst, Ohio to convert it into a public park, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
Last month, the club’s shareholders voted to sell the 87-year-old course to the Conservation Fund, a private non-profit based in Virginia, for $14.75 million. C&RB reported on that sale (“Acacia CC Approves Sale to Conservation Fund”). The fund then donated the 155-acre course to the Metroparks, the Plain Dealer reported.
Deed restrictions on the land guarantee it will remain natural green space in perpetuity. Rosalina Fini, the Metroparks’ law director, said the donation was historic, calling it one of the three largest donations of land in the Metroparks’ 95-year history, the Plain Dealer reported.
“This brings value to this community,” commissioner Bruce Rinker said.
Brian Zimmerman, Metroparks’ Executive Director, told commissioners that the gift includes the clubhouse, which could be used for conferences, weddings and other revenue-generating events to support maintenance of the new park. The Conservation Fund will also donate $300,000 to Metroparks when the deed for Acacia transfers, which could occur in December. The park system will receive another $200,000 from the fund upon development of restoration plans, the Plain Dealer reported.
Metroparks said in a news release that Acacia would be an apt complement to the Euclid Creek Reservation, and preserving the Acacia property would enhance the health of two tributaries that flow into the Euclid Creek watershed.
A similar project begun by the Geauga Park District has transformed the former Orchard Hills golf course into a 237-acre park in five years, the Plain Dealer reported.
Zimmerman, who has a strong background in golf course and turf management, said most conversions turn courses into residential or commercial developments, so the Geauga district’s experience will be valuable. He said they will examine old aerial photos of the tract to determine how much it has changed.
“We will study as many land maps and property records as we can to determine how the land was formed,” Zimmerman said.
Though Zimmerman said it is too early for specifics, the most likely uses in the Metropark reservation will include popular all-purpose trails, bird watching, bike riding and aquatic elements not limited to fishing. A swimming pool comes with the recently refurbished clubhouse, the Plain Dealer reported.
Reforestation will be a key to the course’s rehabilitation, so it will become a living lab that will allow the public to watch as a full, healthy forest canopy develops. Geauga officials say their own hard- and softwood saplings will take 50 years to mature, the Plain Dealer reported.