Portage Park District to expand amenities with new Tinker’s Creek Greenway acquisition

Portage Park District purchased land in Streetsboro to add to the Tinker's Creek Greenway. Photo via Portage Park District

The Portage Park District recently acquired a 112-acre parcel on Seasons Road in Streetsboro as Phase III of its Tinker’s Creek Greenway initiative. Its Phase I and II acquisitions were used to create Trail Lake Park, located south of the new property and adjacent to Herrick Fen State Nature Preserve.

Preliminary plans for the Phase III parcel include parking, hiking trails, restrooms and other low-impact amenities. Major restoration work is planned for at least the next year. The property will remain a preserve (not available to the public) during the restoration and planning process. The public can tour the property and provide site planning suggestions through staff-guided “preserve peeks” that can be found on the Things To Do page at portageparkdistrict.org.

The project was made possible through partnerships with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD), which sponsored the project with $1.72 million in funding through the Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program. The funding also covers restoration activities that include invasive species control, plugging an old oil and gas well, clearing debris, restoring nine acres of wetlands and planting more than 70 acres of forest and meadow habitat.

The Phase III parcel is primarily meadow but includes a large wetland, streams and a portion of high-quality, rare wetland fen habitat with endangered species.

“By permanently protecting the Tinker’s Creek Greenway Phase III property, we’re making a commitment now and to future generations that this land will remain in its natural state,” said Robin Christensen, conservation project manager at Western Reserve Land Conservancy, in a statement. “The wetlands and tributaries on this property that flow into Tinker’s Creek and provide habitat for many different species of plants and wildlife will be clean and healthy. Big projects like this one come together when all the partners play to their greatest strengths. The Land Conservancy is proud to work with the Portage Park District, Ohio EPA and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to preserve a critical piece of the Tinker’s Creek watershed.”

Tinker’s Creek is the largest Cuyahoga River tributary that flows to Lake Erie, and this project is located near its headwaters. Conservation and restoration of the property protects and improves water quality flowing downstream, thus preventing the need for additional water treatment in the future. 

“This once again illustrates the power of partnership and collaboration,” Park District Executive Director Christine Craycroft said in a statement. “Our partners help to stretch local dollars and add capacity to accomplish more than we could working alone as a small agency. In the end, the Park District’s contribution involved staff time and about $10,000 in local funds to make it happen.”

WRLC, one of the largest non-profit land conservancies in the country, pre-acquired the property from the private landowner and assisted with securing funding. The Ohio EPA will hold a permanent environmental covenant on the property to ensure its perpetual preservation.

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Tom Hardesty is a Portager sports columnist. He was formerly assistant sports editor at the Record-Courier and author of the book Glimpses of Heaven.