Space Preserver

The Southgate Farm Acquisition project was a once in a lifetime undertaking that, when realized, met the needs of the city, its various partnering organizations, and the local community. Since its incorporation, the city has solely obtained over 215 acres of parkland and has developed it into various active recreation community parks and sport complexes.

Acquiring the Southgate Farm was an exceptional opportunity for the State of Ohio, the City of Green, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Akron-Canton Airport to form a partnership to fulfill the needs of residents who prefer passive recreation activities, while averting degradation to prime ecologically sensitive land and its surrounding ecosystems, wetland resources, and existing plant and animal habitats.

The acquisition of the Southgate Farm was an extension of many private, public, and state organizations’ hard work and dedication for the preservation of one of our most depleted resources… the natural landscape.

Setting the Stage

The City of Green (incorporated in 1992) is a suburban Ohio community located between the cities of Akron and Canton along the Interstate 77 corridor. The community is experiencing robust residential and commercial growth, which is attributable to the attractiveness of the community and its transportation accessibility.

The Akron-Canton Airport, known as the nation’s “biggest little airport,” the highly acclaimed Green Local School District, quality municipal, county, and state parks systems, and a great centralized location are a few of the many draws that attract businesses and families to Green.

Even before its incorporation as a city, this former farming and agricultural township saw much of its open space being developed into residential neighborhoods and professional business, commercial and industrial parks. For that reason city leaders, who recognized the importance of green space preservation, created a unique charter provision which allocated 10 percent of the city’s 1 percent income tax to the city’s parks and recreation division for land acquisition and other park capital improvement projects.

More recently, the charter provision was amended to provide the parks and recreation division with 7 percent of the 2 percent collected income tax.

In August 2005, ultimately acting upon the desire of residents as expressed in a 2004 Citywide Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment, the City of Green finalized the purchase of 197 acres of well-preserved, natural habitat known as Southgate Farm with funding assistance from the State of Ohio Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Akron-Canton Airport.

Southgate Farm is the largest natural area owned by the city and was acquired in order to provide public access to a beautiful and unique natural resource in the community.

The acquisition project began in July of 2004 when the city’s Mayor, Dan Croghan, and the City of Green Planning Department were approached by the previous owners of the property to discuss development of the farm into a large-lot residential subdivision.

Reserving Resources

Through subsequent meetings and discussions, it was determined that a better use for the land could be fashioned, since Southgate Farm happened to be located adjacent to the city-owned Boettler Recreation Park and one of the most significant natural areas remaining in Ohio, the Singer Lake Basin Nature Preserve, which is owned by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Fear that residential development of Southgate Farm would greatly impact and threaten the sensitive ecosystems and water quality of Singer Lake prompted a closer analysis of the land use.

The adjacent Singer Lake Basin harbors the largest leatherleaf bog in Ohio, 34 plant species as noted on the 2002-03 Ohio Rare Plant List of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 37 dragonfly species, and 17 damselfly species (three species of which are considered very rare in the State of Ohio).

In addition to more than 50 acres of leatherleaf bog and various plant and insect species, the Basin has a five-acre deep-kettle lake that is surrounded by sensitive tamarack, cranberries, and sphagnum.

Other wetland communities in the basin are buttonbush shrub swamp, blueberry/huckleberry shrub swamps, pond lily marshes, and many aquatic beds.

Page 1 of 3 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. National Endangered Species Day
  2. Can Golf Courses Save The Red-Headed Woodpecker?
  3. Take The Plunge!
  4. What Makes Bluff Lake Tick
  5. Meet A Real Skydiver
  • Columns
  • Departments