Red Brook Metropark created

At the former Harbor Golf Course in Ashtabula County, the clang of an iron hitting a golf ball has officially faded away from the fairway. Taking its place will be the whistles of Cedar Waxwings and the drumming of Red-Headed Woodpeckers.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy recently partnered with Ashtabula County Metroparks to acquire and permanently conserve 117 acres of the former golf course in order to create a new public park: Red Brook Metropark.

“This is a great example of how Western Reserve Land Conservancy partners with local communities and leverages our expertise to create public parks and preserves,” explained Brett Rodstrom, vice president of eastern field operations for the Land Conservancy. The Land Conservancy acquired the property in late December 2017 and secured critical funds on behalf of Ashtabula County Metroparks for the permanent conservation of the property, including funding from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) grant, a Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Fund grant, and generous donations from individuals.

The Saybrook Township property sits just 700 feet south of Lake Erie and boasts approximately 1.5 miles of Red Brook, and is within walking distance of hundreds of homes in the area.

Importantly, Red Brook Metropark will provide walk-in access to nearby-residents and visitors with a much-needed passive recreational space within close proximity to the Lake Erie shoreline.  Visitors will be able to partake in fishing, hiking, and cross-country skiing. With existing paved trails, prime steelhead fishing access, and key location along migratory bird routes, the preserve is ready for visitors and poised to become a regional recreational asset.

Rodstrom said that another key aspect of the project is keeping Martinis!, the restaurant on the property, open for the foreseeable future. He said, “We felt it important to maintain our commitment to the community by keeping a well-established commercial presence on site. The new park will dovetail nicely with the restaurant located in the historic clubhouse.” No public funds were used to purchase this portion of the former golf course.

Rodstrom added, “We are excited to take what was formerly a one-season, single-use recreational property and help transform it into a multi-faceted public recreational asset used in all seasons by walkers, runners, anglers, cross country skiers, and birders.”

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