September 1, 2014

Elyria
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Cascade Park agreement could be presented next week

ELYRIA — The final draft of an agreement between the city and Lorain County Metro Parks concerning the future of Cascade Park could be presented as early as next week.

Mayor Holly Brinda said negotiations have led to a proposed contract and memorandum of understanding that she will present to the Elyria Parks board and the City Council-appointed Cascade Park Committee at a joint meeting 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Both groups will hear how the city and park district hope to move forward in a cooperative agreement for future operation of the historic park.

After months of talking, Brinda said she is hopeful the agreement can be signed by year’s end.

“All of the strategic issues have, I think, been resolved with the memorandum of understanding,” she said. “I’m confident the city of Elyria will continue to have a voice in the use and development of Cascade Park and Elywood Park for years to come.”

Earlier this year, it appeared as if the two sides would not reach an agreement in a timely fashion after Brinda expressed displeasure at language in a proposed agreement that gave the parks district the final say on improvements at the parks.

At that time, Metro Parks offered to invest $2 million in the park in exchange for the sole authority to develop a master plan and handle operations at the parks for the next 50 years. The investment would be made between 2015 and 2025 and would represent any combination of park district funds, grants or donations.

A two-year period between 2013 and 2015 would be used for fundraising, and the Metro Parks would like to hold public meetings in 2014 to collect input for a master plan.

The earliest the park district would assume management of Cascade and Elywood parks would be January 2015.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.