For several years now, Judge Grendell and his revolving cadre of temporary park commissioners have been telling us that young people are not attracted to the parks, families are not attracted to the parks and people interested in outdoor recreation are not attracted to the parks. Of course they provide no evidence to back up these assertions. They just know them to be true.
However, in the past week, without expecting it or realizing it, the Park District proved to itself that the single largest attraction offered by the parks is…(wait for it)…SCIENCE!
On Saturday, August 19, the Park District held a grand opening to introduce the newly re-opened Nassau Astronomical Station located adjacent to Observatory Park. The renovated observatory building now houses a space museum as well as the newly refurbished thirty-six inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope that was built by Warner & Swasey in the 1950s. A crowd of several thousand people showed up for this event. Both parking lots were filled to overflowing with cars parked on both sides of the park access roads and for hundreds of yards along Clay Street.
Then on Monday, August 21, Observatory Park was once again flooded with visitors who came to watch the solar eclipse. The eclipse could have been seen from almost anywhere, but thousands of people of all ages flocked to Observatory Park to witness this natural wonder. The Park District naturalists, staff members and volunteers are to be commended for preparing informative, educational experiences that were exciting and very creative. The social atmosphere at both of these events was inquisitive, relaxed and cheerful despite the long lines for some programs on Saturday and the searing heat on Monday.
Everyone in Geauga County should be proud that these events took place here with only modest promotion and that they happened without political strife or misbehavior of any kind. Here’s hoping that the Geauga Park District continues to put resources and energy behind events such as these.