Centerville-Washington Park District acquires Zengel Pleasant Hill Property
The Centerville-Washington Park District has acquired another high-quality natural habitat for residents to enjoy. The 32-acre parcel of land is located at the end of Zengel Drive, adjacent to Pleasant Hill Park.
The acquisition of park land was made possible by the Clean Ohio Fund—Green Space Conservation Program. The Park District received an $803,250 grant to cover 75% of the acquisition price and initial land conservation efforts.
The new park land will remain largely undeveloped. The Park District envisions the addition of pathways and trails with environmental interpretive signage, as is typical of nature preserves. Consistent with this type of park land, use will be primarily self-directed. Park District sponsored hikes and nature education programs will be occasionally scheduled at the preserve. Thanks to the Clean Ohio Fund grant funding, the Park District will be able to begin aggressively removing non-native invasive plant species, such as honeysuckle, and fell dead or dying trees that could be a safety concern.
The Park District took community feedback and internal rankings of undeveloped land into consideration before deciding to acquire the property. As part of a community survey in 2015, Centerville and Washington Township residents were asked if the Park District should acquire more land. A majority of those surveyed supported further land acquisitions. Residents ranked the top six priorities for any new acquisition as preservation of natural areas, providing more trails, adding neighborhood parks, protecting wetlands and waterways, and expanding existing parks. This parcel meets four of the six priorities as ranked by the community. Also in 2015, the Park District evaluated all undeveloped land in the district for potential acquisition based on these criteria. The Zengel Pleasant Hill property ranked in the top ten of all undeveloped parcels for potential future park land. Prior to purchase, the land was evaluated with the assistance of naturalists from Five Rivers MetroParks. In part, their assessment stated the land has “conservation value…provides natural habit in a highly urban area… for plants and animals, especially for migrating species such as birds…”
“Our mission is to preserve quality tracts of land for our community to enjoy now and well into the future. This piece of land fits in well with our strategic focus and allows us to respond to the community’s desire to preserve open space in Centerville and Washington Township,” said Dan Monahan, President of the Board of Commissioners.