ELYRIA — Mayor Holly Brinda walked into the Parks and Recreation board meeting Tuesday afternoon with one goal: to get the support of board members to keep talking to the Lorain County Metro Parks about the future of Cascade Park.
Brinda came to the meeting not looking for the parks board to vote the proposed agreement up or down. Instead, she wanted to know the proposal was on target.
“I do think what you do is very important as a parks board,” Brinda said. “I do value what you do, and I want your opinion.”
If the goal was support, the goal was reached.
“It seems like we are moving in the right direction,” said board member John Hammond. “Most of the people I come into contact with in the community want to see something happen.”
Hammond said he believed partnering with the Metro Parks would be advantageous to the city and the county organization. Board Chairman Sam Battle agreed.
“The community wants Cascade Park to shine the brightest — and how we do that is key,” he said. “The association, partnership or affiliation — whatever you want to call it — with the Metro Parks gives the park the greatest chance of shining.”
While the overall Cascade Park Master Plan developed last year calls for improvements to the historic park totaling $80 million, the proposal the city and Metro Parks are negotiating is closer to $3.015 million — the city would contribute $865,000, the Metro Parks would contribute $1, and the two entities have agreed to work together to raise $1.5 million more.
“Basically, the same things the Metro Parks see as needs are the same things the city sees,” Brinda said. “So, we are at least on the same page in that regard.”
But Brinda also told board members that at least four items are still concerns for the Metro Parks.
In the last few days, Brinda said she has gotten a lot of feedback from the Metro Parks. They want a longer agreement, they don’t want to quantify the number or type of employees they will provide, they don’t want to create a Joint Cascade Park Board, and they want repayment for any improvements made to the park if the city chooses to leave the agreement, she said.
“We haven’t gotten beyond phase one of the discussions,” Brinda said to describe where the talks are going. “But we have agreed to a lot of things in theory.”
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.