Centerville and Washington Township residents will soon have a new park to enjoy! The nearly 15-acre parcel of land is located at 5900 Hithergreen Drive, the site of Washington Township’s former Hithergreen Center. The property acquisition was made possible from grant funding by the Clean Ohio Fund Green Space Conservation Program, administered by the Ohio Public Works Commission. The Park District was awarded a $558,000 grant to cover 75% of the acquisition price, building demolition and land conservation and restoration.
The first steps of the project will include the demolition of the former Hithergreen Center, which will be managed by Washington Township Public Works. A small portion of the parking lot will remain to facilitate easy access to the park. The Park District will remove non-native invasive plant species, such as honeysuckle, fell dead or dying trees, and plant native butterfly gardens on the property to create a healthy ecosystem for native plants and animals.
Neighbors of the former Hithergreen Center have been enthusiastic in their support for the new park. Neighbors implored the Washington Township Board of Trustees to sell the property to the Park District. Simultaneously, the lobbied the Park District to acquire the site for a park. Once the initially proposed residential development fell through, the Park District and the Township worked together to make it happen. The cooperation included jointly agreeing to terms of purchase including the condition that the Park District needed to first win a grant to preserve the site.
“Centerville-Washington Park District is committed to the preservation of open space and natural habitats. This new park will provide recreation space in a busy residential area, and it will help to clean run-off to the tributary stream on the property,” said Arnie Biondo, Director of the Centerville-Washington Park District.
Washington Township Administrator Jesse Lightle remarked, “This is a win-win for the community and the Hithergreen neighborhood. By working with the Park District, this neighborhood will now have a park within a 10-minute, safe walk of every home.”
Demolition of the building will occur in 2019, followed by plans to restore the landscape and begin maintenance as the Centerville-Washington Park District’s 51st public park.