Chagrin Valley Times
The Russell Township Citizens Park District is likely to be the recipient of a grant expected to cover three quarters of the cost of buying green space on Music Street.
While the purchase of property and acceptance of the grant is contingent upon the passage of Issue 3, a 1-mill levy for the land purchase, park board Commissioner Perry Howland said the grant is pending official approval through the Ohio Public Works Commission.
With the help of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the citizens park board, established under Ohio Revised Code 511 by voters in 2017, is under contract to purchase about 64 acres known as the Gallo property located adjacent to the Geauga Park District’s West Woods Nature Center.
The property that costs $729,000 is made up of mostly wooded land and ravine slopes. Mr. Howland said that there has yet to be a concrete selling price, but he estimated that more than $500,000 would support the purchase of the property through the grant.
Samantha Miller, manager of conservation funding at the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, said the grant comes from the Clean Ohio Fund’s Green Space Conservation. She said the Ohio Public Works Commission should make its final approval in the summer after the vote on the levy.
Mr. Howland said the levy would pay for the remaining balance of the property in addition to two other properties in the township, totaling about 34 acres, that he said they could not disclose yet.
At full collection, he said the park district should get about $270,000 in revenue each year, totaling more than $1.3 million for five years.
Shelley Chernin, chairwoman of the 511 district’s levy committee, had explained in a January levy committee meeting that the cost to taxpayers would be $35 per $100,000 of home valuation. The levy will be on the March 17 ballot.
“It’s up to the voters if they want to keep Russell green,” Mr. Howland said. “We’re trying to show the voters we’re leveraging their funds to help keep the area green. We have everything in order, all we need is passage of the levy.”