ELYRIA TWP. — People are starting to flock to Rowland Nature Preserve in Elyria Township.
People can use walking trails laid down in the park, named in honor of Billy Rowland, the businessman who gave the land to the township, on foot, on bikes and with their dogs — as long as they clean up after themselves, said Elyria Township Trustee Rob Scheithauer.
“If you go past there in the evening, you’ll see 10 to 15 cars,” Scheithauer said.
Visitors will have to dodge construction vehicles through Aug. 10.
The township hired Plas Paving of Elyria to complete a $116,000 project which involves the parking area and entrance and exit. It also includes the driveway to the lake, which will only be used for township or emergency vehicles. The township expects half of the cost to be covered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Earlier, the township paid $99,200 to Mark Haynes Construction from Norwalk to construct 3,700 linear feet of 8-foot wide trails and 5,400 linear feet of 10-foot wide aggregate trails.
The township expects to be reimbursed for 80 percent of the cost through a grant through a ODNR Recreational Trails Program grant.
Scheithauer said the walking paths are so firm that they are suitable for wheelchairs.
Motorized vehicles, such as three-wheelers, are not permitted on the trails.
The township also will be receiving bids on Monday for an observation deck measuring 20 feet by 50 feet that will be constructed at the southwest corner of the lake. The estimated cost of the deck is $43,500 and will also be funded at 80 percent by ODNR as part of the recreational trails program.
Rowland, founder of Rowland Enterprises and Buckeye Community Bank, donated nine parcels of land containing 58.3 acres to the township.
The land is adjacent to 25 acres the township purchased several years ago for $250,000 at the southeast corner of Murray Ridge Road and the Ohio Turnpike.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.