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Summit Metro Parks has completed the purchase of Valley View Golf Club in Akron.
The 194-acre property, described as “the missing piece of the puzzle” by spokesperson Nathan Eppink, lies between Sand Run Metro Park and the already contiguous Cascade Valley and Gorge parks. It offers the park district new ways to access the Cuyahoga River and the multipurpose Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, both of which are near the former golf course’s western boundary.
The park district hosted an open house on the property Oct. 16 to share ideas for possible improvements and amenities.
The purchase of Valley View helps form the second largest natural area managed by Summit Metro Parks, at just under 1,700 acres. Only Liberty Park’s 3,000 acres in northeast Summit and northwestern Portage counties is larger.
“This was a strategic acquisition, and we couldn’t be more excited,” executive director Lisa King said of the golf course. “It’s within the City of Akron, and we have a lot of ideas about making this a destination for outdoor enthusiasts.”
Eppink said biologists and planners will study how to best restore the property to a more native and natural state and then develop a master plan that includes a number of recreational and educational opportunities. The Cascade Valley Metro Park / Valley View Area will be closed during the planning process.
More than 2,000 feet of the Cuyahoga River and 65 acres of floodplain have restoration potential. More than 20,000 feet of a drainage network – including 10 ponds – could be restored to wetland and stream habitats. Initial studies show the property harbors several rare or noteworthy species.
Summit Metro Parks paid $4 million for the golf course. With its purchase, the park district now manages 14,300 acres.
The 27-hole Valley View Golf Club began when Carl Springer purchased an 87-acre farm on Cuyahoga Street – the last dairy farm in Akron – from Ray and Fern Himelright in 1956. The property had been in the Himelright name since the late 1800s.
The park district’s first master plan, created by renowned landscape architects the Olmsted Brothers in the 1920s, identified the Valley View property as land worth preserving.
For more information about Summit Metro Parks, call 330-865-8065 or visit summitmetroparks.org.